Showing posts with label Transnational crime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Transnational crime. Show all posts

February 11, 2014

A.J.G. "Edgar" Tijhuis Returns to Amelia to Teach "Transnational Organized Crime and Art'

Edgar Tijhuis, lawyer and assistant-professor of Criminology at the VU University in Amsterdam, in The Netherlands, will return to Amelia for the sixth year to teach “Transnational Organized Crime and Art” (June 16-20) for ARCA’s Postgraduate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection Studies.

Tijhuis, the author of Transnational Crime and the Interface between Legal and Illegal Actors – The Case of the Illicit Art and Antiquities Trade (Nijmegen, Wolf Legal Publishers, 2006), published a chapter in Art & Crime: Exploring the Dark Side of the Art World (Praeger, 2009), “Who Is Stealing All Those Paintings?” He is also associated with the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement in Amsterdam.

What makes your course relevant in the study of art crime?

The current literature on art crime gives us some idea of art crimes that are committed all over the world. However, it is far less clear who is involved and how these crimes are organized. In this course we will look at art crime from a criminological perspective and focus on these issues. What kind of people are actually involved in specific types of art crime: organized crime, insiders, petty thieves, quaint characters, terrorists or all of them? And how can we explain their involvement in these crimes? Criminological theories and models help to answer these questions. This approach makes the course very relevant as it tries to fill the gap that is left between research from lawyers, archaeologists and others. Finally, trying to figure out who is involved and why, helps to define criteria for the most fruitful policies to deal with the problem of art crime.

Do you have a recommended reading list that students can read before the course?

A good starter would be "The Medici Conspiracy" by Peter Watson and Cecilia Todeschini. This landmark study touches upon many very important issues that we will deal with in this course.

Please give us a snapshot of a day in your classroom about what students might learn on a given day.  

Students will learn about a wide array of topics. Among other things, students will get a crash course of criminological theories spanning over 200 years and apply these theories to cases of art crime. We will dive into the world of transnational crime, from the trade in blood diamonds to arms trafficking and terrorism. And we will look at the process of "laundering" hot art and integrating it in the legitimate market.

What is your current area of focus as related to art crime?

At VU University I'm supervising a Phd study by Ruth Godthelp. She is analysing the nature of art crimes in the Netherlands. She is also a member of the heavy crimes (or serious and organised crime) unit of the Amsterdam Police Department (where she's combatting art crimes on a daily basis) and has built a unique database of over 4000 art crimes. Furthermore, I'm working with Jasper van der Kemp, who is specialising in profiling) We search for ways to profile art crimes, both big museum thefts as well as series of thefts from churches, libraries etc. Finally, I'm working on a book on histories of transnational crime, which will include an overview of over 2000 years of art crimes by Noah Charney.

August 5, 2013

Edgar Tijhuis on "Legal and Illegal Actors around Art Crime: a Typology of Interfaces" (The Journal of Art Crime, Spring 2013)


Edgar Tijhuis
The Journal of Art Crime is pleased to serialize Edgar Tijhuis' now out-of-print book, Transnational Organized Crime and the Interface between Legal and Illegal Actors, originally published by Enfield in 2006, the author publishing under his formal name, A. J. G. Tijhuis, and based on the author's doctoral dissertation. The Journal of Art Crime is pleased to present its content, which deals largely with transnational organized crime and art, adapted into a series of articles, which will appear in consecutive issues, beginning with this one.
This article discusses a number of criminological typological interfaces, and shows how they might apply to art crime. A number of interfaces from these typology could be used to understand particular activities within the illicit trade. Several interfaces commonly discussed by criminologists will turn out to be superfluous to the understanding the illicit art trade. The discussion of this typology in this article will show that seven of ten commonly-discussed interfaces could be used to understand the relationships between actors in the illicit art trade. These seven consisted of two antithetical interfaces and five symbiotic interfaces. The antithetical interfaces are the injurious and antagonistic interfaces; the symbiotic interfaces included the outsourcing, reciprocity, collaboration, co-option and synergy interface. Three interfaces seem superfluous, as far as the illicit art trade is concerned: the predatory, parasitical and funding interface.
Edgar Tijhuis works at VU University as an associate professor and as researcher at the NSCR (Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement), both in Amsterdam (The Netherlands). Furthermore he practices law at Pontius Lawyers and is an ARCA trustee.

Mr. Tijhuis introduces his article here:
Art crimes, like other crimes, in most cases ultimately depend on legal actors and the legitimate market. Without a legal market in art, or other goods, there would be no point in stealing them, at least in most cases. Exceptions to the rule are of course figures like Breitweiser or the infamous, but rarely found, rich collectors buying secretly from thieves or fences. 
Despite the above, criminologists and others often describe and analyze crimes by focusing primarily on the criminals, and not the environment around them, including legal businesses, government agencies, etc. When this environment is mentioned, legal actors are often assumed to be either victims or actors with a minor stake in the crime. To shed more light on the role of legal actors and the interaction between legal and illegal, my PhD study specifically focused on the interfaces between legal and illegal actors, around transnational crime (Tijhuis: 2006). A typology of interfaces was refined, and a model was developed to understand the transformation from transnational crimes to legitimate activities. The study was based, in the first place, on a study of transnational crime in general, including all kinds of crimes ranging from, for example, arms trafficking, human trafficking, terrorism, to drug trafficking. Secondly, it was based on a thorough study of the illegal art and antiquities trade, and this typology and model was applied to this field of crime. 
In this article, the interface typology will first be described. After that, the typology will first be described. After that, the typology will be applied to art crimes. The article is, in part, a reproduction of a portion of chapter 8 of the aforementioned PhD study, dealing with the illicit art trade (Tijhuis, 2006: 143-167).
Mr. Tijhuis's article is continued in the ninth issue of The Journal of Art Crime, edited by Noah Charney and published by ARCA, available electronically (pdf) and in print via subscription and Amazon.com. The Associate Editor is Marc Balcells (ARCA '11), Graduate Teaching Fellow, Department of Political Science, John Jay College of Criminal Justice -- The City University of New York.

April 10, 2011

ARCA 2011 Student James Alex Bond on "The Use of High Value Art and Collectibles to Launder and/or Transfer Capital"

James A. Bond will be attending ARCA's Postgraduate Program in International Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection Studies this summer in Amelia. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Textiles from Georgia Institute of Technology; a Master's of Business Administration in Marketing & Finance from Georgia State University; and a Master's in Science in Global Affairs, Security from New York University. A former Special Agent with the United States Air Force, Mr. Bond has also owned three construction companies. He sold his companies and retired in 2006 to return to school for the Global Affairs program at NYU.

Of course, the ARCA blog couldn't wait to interview him and read his paper, "The Use of High Value Art and Collectibles to Launder and/or Transfer Capital," of which has been adapted for a six-part series for this blog.
James A. Bond
ARCA blog: What about the ARCA program attracted you?
Mr. Bond: Diversity of subjects covered, quality of professors, mission of ARCA, and of course the fact it was being taught in Italy. 
ARCA blog: What would you like to do after you have completed your studies? 
Mr. Bond: Start an insurance-security business focusing on private art/collectibles collections. 
ARCA blog: What area of research do you anticipate following as part of the program? 
Mr. Bond: Insurance for private collections and traveling museum exhibits. 
ARCA blog: I enjoyed reading your thesis. Please tell our readers what drew you to this subject and what surprised you about your research and the material? 

Mr. Bond: In the summer of 2009 I was taking a Transnational Crime class as part of my Global Affairs curriculum at NYU and we all had to make presentations on some aspect of Transnational Crime. One of the students did her presentation on art crime and mentioned the New York Times article about ARCA's Postgraduate Program in Art Crime. With my background in security I knew that would be my next educational experience.

When I wrote my thesis for my MS in Global Affairs I wrote on "The Use of High Value Art and Collectibles to Launder and/or Transfer Capital". Being in New York and living in the financial district during the chaotic fall of 2008 and then watching Greece and Ireland suffer sovern debt problems got me thinking about how to best preserve capital and move it if the need arose.

I interviewed many people from FBI agents (3) to collectors, gallery owners, and people in finance. I was surprised at how unwilling gallery owners, collectors were to talk about the concept (read in my thesis about the NO, NO answer the stamp collector gave me) while on the other hand people in security and finance grasp it readily.
The ARCA Blog will begin today to run a series of posts on Mr. Bond's thesis.

February 3, 2011

Profile: ARCA Lecturer Edgar Tijhuis on Transnational Crime, Organized Crime and Illicit Art and Antiquities


by Catherine Schofield Sezgin

Edgar Tijhuis, lawyer and assistant-professor of Criminology at the VU University in Amsterdam, in The Netherlands, will return to Amelia for the third year to teach “Criminology, Art, and Transnational Organized Crime” for ARCA’s Postgraduate Program in International Art Crime and Cultural Property Protection Studies.

Tijhuis, the author of Transnational Crime and the Interface between Legal and Illegal Actors – The Case of the Illicit Art and Antiquities Trade (Nijmegen, Wolf Legal Publishers, 2006), published a chapter in Art & Crime: Exploring the Dark Side of the Art World (Praeger, 2009), “Who Is Stealing All Those Paintings?” He is also associated with the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement in Amsterdam.

ARCA blog: Professor Tijhuis, your essay in Art & Crime makes the point, as Noah Charney wrote in a long footnote, “that most experts are going on hearsay from police about Organized Crime and art crime, with relatively little empirical data and evidence beyond the word of police, undercover agents, and criminals.” Since publishing this article in 2009, do you think that anything had changed? Have you seen any data that would support the level of activity of Organized Crime in the illicit and antiquities trade?
Professor Tijhuis: It is difficult to answer this question briefly. To be sure, I did not mean to say that “organized crime” is not involved in crimes related to art. The point is that general claims of this involvement do not seem to be based on firm empirical data. In fact, “art crime” consists of all kinds of rather different types of (criminal) activity, in uncountable places around the world. With some specific types of art crime, one can clearly see an “organized” character, with others there does not seem to be any organization at all and with many we simply do not know or we see all kind of different ways of organizing these crimes. To make it even more complex, an ongoing debate among criminologists focuses on the whole concept of “organized crime”. Do we actually focus on actors (organizations) or activities?
At this moment different studies try to shed light on these topics. Among others, Noah Charney and myself are involved in these studies and I hope they will enhance our knowledge.
ARCA blog: As a practical point, do you think that Organized Crime uses stolen art and antiquities in part of the trade on illegal drug and arms activities? Are you aware of any data that ties stolen art or antiquities to any other illegal activities supported by Organized Crime networks?
Professor Tijhuis: Again, we are dealing with a rather broad category of crimes that take place all around the world. I am not aware of data that systematically connects art crimes with other illegal activities. However, one can find examples of connections with other crimes in specific places around the world.
ARCA blog: What is the difference between transnational crime and Organized Crime and how does this influence the way you teach your course for ARCA?
Professor Tijhuis: First of all, transnational crime clearly involves cross-border types of crime. At the same time, it does not necessarily involve all kind of criminal organizations but may involve individuals or constantly changing networks of people involved in specific crimes. The different terms are related to the different perspectives on crime that were mentioned earlier. When one takes actors as the starting point of studies, one will use the terms “organized crime” or “transnational organized crime”. Transnational crime, on the contrary, is sometimes used when one takes (illicit) activities as starting point.
ARCA blog: What is your current area of focus as related to art crime?
Professor Tijhuis: Currently I'm looking at several specific topics. One of them is “profiling”. We look at ways to profile art crimes, either geographically or psychological. Furthermore, together with Noah Charney, I am working on an article on Organized Crime and Art Crime, which should help to clarify things for readers and students alike, and which will combine our two approaches. We very much enjoy working together, and this is the first of what we hope will be several collaborative future projects.
ARCA blog: Will you be doing anything differently in your class this year?
Professor Tijhuis: Each year I try to add new elements and change the material. This year will probably have somewhat less purely criminological theory and more theory on organized crime and white- collar crime. Furthermore, recent literature and cases always provide wonderful new material.