Augustin LAZAR

(Alba Iulia Court of Appeal, “1 Decembrie 1918” University of Alba Iulia, Romania)

Given the globalization of criminality against cultural heritage, when the criminals that live in a country often meet in another country and organize the perpetration of deeds in a third country, while investing the proceeds of such deeds in a fourth country, European investigative structures must have at least the same mobility, communicate information to each other in real time, and must be capable to operatively find in other countries evidence admissible in the country where judgment is to be held.>br> The appearance of e-trade provided an evolved modus operandi to the networks of traffickers that trade cultural goods whose provenience cannot be demonstrated through legal documents. Given that the internet sites provide them with the possibility to perform operations without giving any details to their customers with regard to the origin of goods, this type of rapid trades, with a very low degree of control by site administrators, grants to the involved persons an increased degree of security regarding the preservation of their anonymity.
Fast electronic trades offer the possibility to circulate a huge volume of archaeological pieces within such tenders and to obtain significant amounts of money, resulting from the sale of such goods. Payments are made by the means indicated by the seller, either through the pay pal system, of money electronic transfer from the buyer’s account into the seller’s account, which may be either controlled, or through the money order system, which allows the money collection from any bank, similarly to a cheque payable to bearer.
The criminal prosecution practice in the environment of trades with goods resulting from archaeological poaching revealed as the sellers’ cautious operation method the indication as artifacts’ origin location of huge areas belonging to the same culture, avoiding locating their origin on the site of provenience. For example, a perpetrator, a Romanian citizen, an administrator of commercial companies headquartered in the United Kingdom and in USA, offering for sale golden Dacian bracelets and ancient monetary treasures, originating in the archaeological sites classified as a historical monument from the Orastiei Mountains, Dobrogea and other regions of Romania, presented them on the website of his companies, as artifacts of Thracian origin, coming from the cultural area of the Balkan Peninsula.
The dynamics of organizing and specializing criminal networks, adopting an evolved modus operandi impose similar dynamics of organizing and specializing investigative structures, use of special techniques for operative surveillance and research, adequate to the new operation methods, applicable to the entire European judicial space.