Laundering of Payments by Sea Pirates

Kidnap for ransom payments made to pirates in Somalia are difficult to track due to the payments being made in cash, according to the BBC. An estimated $80 million in ransom payments are believed to have been laundered by organized crime syndicates in the Gulf region, but this has been denied by Gulf authorities.

The BBC also has a breakdown by the United Nations on how the ransom payments are distributed.

Although there is no universal set of rules, a UN report based on information gathered from pirates based in the north-eastern village of Eyl, reveals some interesting information about how the ransom spoils are divided:

• Maritime militia, pirates involved in actual hijacking – 30%

• Ground militia (armed groups who control the territory where the pirates are based) – 10%

• Local community (elders and local officials) – 10%

• Financier – 20%

• Sponsor – 30%

The UN report found the payments are shared virtually equally between the maritime militia, although the first pirate to board the ship gets a double share or a vehicle.

And compensation is paid to the family of any pirate killed during the operation.


1 comment

  1. Source: Mary Harper, Chasing the Somali piracy money trail,” BBC News, May 24, 2009.

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