Foreign residential sales in Turkey have brought a breath of fresh air to the real estate sector, which has been going through a tough period. While Chinese

Does France have any mafia-like groups? If so, how do they compare to the American mafia?

There is no mafia culture in France and if there have been any connections between big banditry and politics, it was rather the work of elements of the far left and anarchism at the beginning of the last century. There was of course the existence of a mob and the Marseille and Parisian circles made people talk about them until the 1970s (French connection) but nothing comparable to the organised crime that prevails in other countries.

There is however a mafia presence in France but it is a foreign one. For a long time it remained discreet and only investing some of its profits in the country, but the French police noted an increase in criminal acts attributable to foreign mafia organisations:

Above: 28,000 acts of crime and specialized delinquency in France in 2010

Balkan networks are at the forefront of arms trafficking.

Turkish-speaking groups hold the heroin and cocaine market.

Increasing presence of Georgian criminal organisations implies that further violent actions cannot be ruled out. In addition, the French police refers to “financial transactions by oligarchs or criminals with a normalized life”. “France remains an investment territory, sometimes a money laundering territory (luxury residential in Paris, on the French Riviera and in Savoy). Other investments come from personalities close to the political power, the oligarchs, strongly suspected of having built their fortune in the 1990s on the support of criminal organisations (such as Boris Berezovski, Roman Abramovitch, Oleg Deripaska).

Italian mafias return in force: described as “entrepreneurial mafias”, they are concentrated in the regions of Nice and Lyon. Their major sectors of activity are: construction, real estate, clothing, electronic tools. In the Alpes-Maritimes, two investigations were carried out against a family from Calabria’s Ndrangheta and a representative of the Neapolitan Camorra. The French police considers that “these two organisations seem to have effective networks and connections in France and Monaco”.

Chinese Triads invest in sex: the French police makes them “responsible for a significant part of prostitution in Paris”. In addition to the “walkers” in the Strasbourg-Saint-Denis district, massage parlours are also being set up “at a sustained pace in the capital and, more recently, in the major provincial cities. The police state that they are “very often held by Chinese women, having married French pensioners”. As one Commissaire said: The more the crisis sets in, the stronger the mafias get.

I would add that the absence of the “French mafia” itself does not exclude, on the contrary, the development of multiple smaller criminal organizations “whose determination and dangerousness are very high” according to the French police. Whether they are from Corsica, Marseille, Grenoble or emerging from the cities, local godfathers (we call them caïd in French, a souvenir of the old times of arab gangsters) are said to be at the origin of 75% of the facts relating to specialised crime, with foreign organisations being statistically assigned the remaining quarter in 2010, with just over 7500 suspects.