In 2020, more than 720 cases coordinated through Eurojust concerned MOCGs. Such gangs are active in many crime areas, including theft and property crime, and move around quickly within and across multiple jurisdictions. It is therefore essential to cooperate closely across borders to detect and tackle them and build a solid prosecution case in a national court, based on admissible evidence to achieve justice for the damages they cause.
A particularly successful outcome in 2020 was achieved in Operation Brooks, which resulted in the recovery of rare historical books worth an estimated EUR 2 million, including first editions of works by Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton, which were stolen from a postal warehouse in London in 2017 by a Romanian MOCG. Twelve suspects have pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit burglary. Another example of justice done was the final judgments in Germany for thefts of luxury cars by a group operating in Lithuania, including the confiscation of nearly EUR 585 000 of criminal proceeds.
‘After almost three-and-a-half years since the starting of this investigation, we have reached the most successful end possible of Operation Brooks by recovering and handing over the historical books after putting the criminals behind bars. This wouldn’t have been possible without the continuous and effective cooperation amongst the Romanian, United Kingdom and Italian authorities with the valuable assistance and expertise of Eurojust and its tools, and Europol. From my point of view, this operation is a good example of using all the EU judicial cooperation instruments which are crucial in conducting cross-border investigations of such extent.’
Alina Albu, Chief Prosecutor, Directorate for Investigation Organised Crime and Terrorism Central Structure, Romania, leader of the joint investigation team