International recognition for academic’s research into organised crime
10 December 2020
A Cardiff University academic has won a prestigious international award for his anti-corruption research.
Professor Michael Levi was announced as the winner of the Rule of Law Committee/UN Office of Drugs and Crime Research and Education prize.
Since the 1970s, Professor Levi has been at the forefront of academic and policy developments in corruption, white-collar and other ‘organized’ crimes and the ways they interact with globalization and with the emerging frameworks of transnational policing and regulation.
He has been regularly consulted by the UK, EU and other governments such as Australia, to assist them in thinking about how best to manage their financial and organized crime problems. At a European level, he was the only UK academic appointed to the EU Group of Experts on Corruption and has been a senior adviser in networks to advise EU governments and sectors on anti-corruption efforts.
His nomination letter noted: “In a world of busy and sometimes transient stakeholder representatives having to deal with complex problems often afresh, Professor Levi’s research offers a bulwark against over-hyped claims both about levels of harm and about likely effectiveness of interventions. His work highlights the need for a more subtle public understanding of the need for both preventative and criminal justice measures in addressing less visible harms.”
Professor Levi, based at the University’s School of Social Sciences said: “It is a terrific honour to receive this global recognition of the quality of my research, all of which has been conducted at Cardiff over the last 45 years.
“Like other crimes, corruption varies in its extent and harmfulness and in the ways we react towards it. Many, though certainly not all, of the funds find their way to expensive homes, car dealerships and businesses in our countries, using our professional and financial institutions.
“I have had the privilege of shining some research light on the processes by which different forms of corruption and wealth transfers happen. My work suggests that it is a mistake to bracket off ‘corruption’ and ‘anti-corruption’ from fraud, organised crime and political donations, as they are often inter-connected, for example via local and national government contracts.”
Last year, Professor Levi received lifetime awards from the American Society of Criminology, the British Society of Criminology and the first UK Lifetime Tackling Economic Crime Award.