Several European enforcement and research entities have announced the testing phase of a tool prototype to detect anomalies in the ownership structures of companies. The tool, which is intended to identify corruption and money laundering risks, is under development in a research project named DATACROS (an acronym for “Developing A Tool to Assess Corruption Risk factors in firms’ Ownership Structure”). The research project is nearing its 24-month conclusion in February 2021. It is being carried out by an international consortium under the leadership of a joint research project of three Italian universities, Transcrime. The other partners are France’s Agence Française Anticorruption, Spain’s Cuerpo Nacional de la Policia, and the Italian Investigative Reporting Project. The project is funded in part by the European Union Internal Security Fund – Police.
When applied, Datacros should flag ownership links among firms that could be colluding with one another in a tender, by identifying patterns of collusion, ownership links, politically exposed persons, cross-border ownership structures, and links to high-risk and offshore jurisdictions. The tool is intended to serve national and local authorities, and to facilitate police investigations and enhance the prosecution of corruption and money laundering in Europe, particularly in cases that involve cross-border investigations. The Datacros tool combines information from various sources, including company registries, blacklists, property records, data about tax havens and PEPs. Parts of the tool – those that anonymize findings of anomalies and display them on geographical maps and charts without more detail — will be accessible to the public. Other parts will be restricted to authorized users.