Economic crimes are part of mercenary crime directly related to economic relations in the country and in the world. Understanding of this group of acts is even more uncertain than self-serving crime itself. Nevertheless, these crimes are considered in many countries as a relatively independent group. And there are many reasons for this – economic, social, criminological and even political.
The criminological significance and volumes of economic crime do not coincide in countries with command and market economies, but in any society it cannot be ignored.
The beginning of the development of the concept of economic crime in a market economy, it can be said, was laid in 1945 by the Sutherland concept of white-collar crime in the USA as crime committed by high-ranking officials in the business sphere. Later, tax evasion, computer and other crimes that harm the economy of the state, its individual sectors, entrepreneurial activity, as well as the economic interests of certain groups of citizens began to be attributed to these crimes. The list of these crimes has expanded to 20-30 compositions.
One of the first classifications of economic crimes in the world was proposed at the end of the 70s by the UN Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFEI), which included violations of laws aimed at improving the market economy and regulating the market economy, violations financial and tax legislation, corruption.
Turned to economic crime and the Sixth UN Congress in terms of analysis of the abuse of economic power in the commission of economic crimes and seizure of political power. And the Seventh Congress in one of the resolutions categorized economic crimes as especially dangerous and demanded a tougher fight against them.
Based on a wide analysis of foreign criminological literature, E. E. Dementieva, who prepared a serious study on economic crime in foreign countries, identifies six signs of economic crime. In her opinion, these acts:
1) are committed in the process of professional activity;
2) in the framework and under the guise of legitimate economic activity;
3) are self-serving;
4) have a continuing systematic development;
5) damage the economic interests of the state, private enterprise and citizens;
6) are committed by legal entities and individuals acting on behalf of and in the interests of the enterprise.
Most of these signs can be accepted unconditionally. But economic crimes are committed not only on behalf of and in the interests of the enterprise. We have no criminal liability of legal entities. It does not exist in other countries, such as Germany. The new Criminal Code of the Russian Federation uses the term “crimes in the field of economics” in the broadest sense of the word.
For all the variety of approaches available in the world literature, the essence of economic crime in countries with market economies is constituted by crimes committed by corporations against state economies, against other corporations serving corporations against the corporation itself, corporations against consumers.
In Soviet reality, this group of acts was mainly associated with the shadow economy and was predetermined by the dominance of socialist (state and public) property, which, on the one hand, was institutionally more strictly protected by the state, and on the other hand, from the very beginning of its existence it was in the discretionary possession of the state farm -nomenclature and actually became orphaned. She was pulled away by everyone who had anything to do with her. S. M. Schneider, in the work of “The Wastellers” of 1925, had every reason to write that “it was impossible not to take public property” and “only the lazy did not take it”. Neither draconian laws nor the most severe judicial practice could stop the process of plundering socialist property when a punishment of several years of imprisonment was imposed for a potato purse, a bale of hay or a handful of spikelets from a collective farm field.
Economic crime in the USSR and until recently in Russia, was usually attributed to: certain types of state crimes (violations of the rules on foreign exchange transactions, the manufacture or sale of counterfeit money or securities), crimes against socialist property (theft committed by appropriation, embezzlement and abuse of official regulations, fraud, etc.), economic crimes (speculation, home registry, private entrepreneurial activity, commercial mediation), official crimes (in bribery, abuse of power or official position, forgery, etc.).