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Detection Model of Legally Registered Mafia Firms in Italy

This paper develops a model that can contribute to the detection of legally registered firms defined as Mafia firms (LMFs) due to having been confiscated by judicial authorities, in relation to alleged connections of their owners with Italian organized crime. The model correctly classifies 76.41% of firms within a matched sample of 852 firm-years including LMFs and lawful firms. Furthermore, we present an analysis of financial statement characteristics of singular private firms which are socially irresponsible by nature and whose incentives, modus operandi and legal financial statement formats differ from those of listed companies. In particular, we show that specific accruals and earnings management proxies may provide more insight into accounting manipulation patterns of LMFs. More importantly, our paper can help practitioners and regulators identify accounting signals that can be used in risk assessment models or in the detection of criminal infiltrations and related illicit practices.

Josep Maria Argilés Bosch

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