An interesting article on CNN talks about a report by the United Nations Crime Unit breaking down how African Pirates spend their look money in the horn of Africa. I culled some excerpts of the article, particularly the break down of their sally structure;
Kingpins and foot soldiers
- Pirate financiers, considered the “money kingpins,” earned the most loot — about 30% to 50% of the total ransom paid, the study shows.
- Low level pirates, mostly foot soldiers sent to the high seas to do the dirty work, earn between $30,000 and $75,000 a vessel.
- Pirates who board the vessel first or use their own weapons in an operation get a bonus $10,000, the study says.
- Rewards aside, there is also punishment.
- Those who refuse to follow orders, mistreat the crew or fall asleep on the job get fined, according to the study,
- And each step of the operation is tracked, with a lot of beneficiaries along the way.
“When a ship is caught, the pirates call at the city. Everybody celebrates,” the study says. “When the ship comes at the port, a crew comes to secure it. Everything is written down, every food, drink, any kind of transaction. The final amount will be deducted from the ransom at the end. The investor pays.”
Pimps, cooks and militia benefit too
Cooks, pimps, lawyers and the militia controlling ports also get a piece of the pie.
The pirates’ money is “typically spent on alcohol, khat, and prostitutes,” the report said. “Proceeds from piracy are also reinvested into the financing of future pirate operations and may support the purchase of real estate, investment in the khat trade, and other business investments and ventures.”
Pirates in Somali areas controlled by the al Qaeda-linked militant group Al-Shabaab also pay a development tax to access the ports, according to the study. Although the piracy trade is controlled from Somalia, its effects spill into surrounding areas.
Proceeds are moved by the kingpins across borders through smuggling, money laundering and wire transfers, the study shows. And the funds are widely distributed among various industries.
“Pirate financiers invest into a range of sectors … some of these proceeds are recycled into financing criminal activities, including further piracy acts, human trafficking and investing in militias and military capacities on land in Somalia,” the study says.