Nikos Passas

Nikos Passas

Nikos Passas is a Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University, and co-director of the Institute for Security and Public Policy. He is also a visiting professor at the Basel Institute on Governance and at the University of Applied Sciences for Management & Communication’s Competence Center for Corporate Governance & Business Ethics in Vienna. He is a distinguished visiting professor at Beijing Normal University, a professor and distinguished practitioner in financial integrity and a senior fellow of the Financial Integrity Institute at Case Western Reserve Law School. Nikos Passas is head of the UN Sanctions Implementation Legal Review Services at Compliance Capacity and Skills International (CCSI) and chair of the Academic Council of the Anti-Corruption Academy in India. He has served as corruption program director at the Ethics and Compliance Officer Association (ECOA).

His law degree is from the University of Athens (LL.B.), his Master’s from the University of Paris-Paris II (D.E.A.) and his Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh in the Faculty of Law. He is a member of the Athens Bar (Greece). He is fluent in six languages and plays classical guitar.

He specializes in the study of corruption, illicit financial/trade flows, sanctions, informal fund transfers, remittances, terrorism, white-collar crime, financial regulation, organized crime and international crimes. He has published more than 210 articles, book chapters, reports and books in 14 languages. His next books are entitled Trade-Based Financial Crime and Illicit Flows and Corruption and Crisis in Greece.

He is the author the following works:

  • Informal Value Transfer Systems (IVTS) and Criminal Activities (2004)
  • Legislative Guide for the Implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption, Legislative Guide for the Implementation of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (2003)
  • IVTS and Criminal Organizations (1999)

He has edited the following works:

  • Transnational Financial Crimes (2013)
  • The United Nations Convention against Corruption as a Way of Life (2007)
  • International Crimes (2003)
  • It’s Legal but It Ain’t Right: Harmful Social Consequences of Legal Industries 2004)
  • Upperworld and Underworld in Cross-Border Crime (2002)
  • Transnational Crime (1999)
  • The Future of Anomie Theory (1997)
  • Organized Crime (1995).

Nikos Passas has also contributed to the United Nations Non-Proliferation Sanctions on Iran and North Korea: Practitioner’s Compliance Handbook (2015), edited a volume on the Regulation of Informal remittance Systems for the IMF, co-authored a World Bank study into Migrant Labor Remittances in the South Asia Region, authored two reports to FinCEN on the trade in precious stones and metals and completed numerous studies on terrorism finance, procurement fraud, corruption asset recovery, anti-corruption authorities, as well as on governance, development and corruption international policy.

He serves as the editor-in-chief of the international journal Crime, Law and Social Change and associate editor for a number of journals. He served as Chair of the Am. Soc. of Criminology International Division and is currently ASC’s liaison to the United Nations. He also served on the Board of Directors of the International Society of Criminology.

Passas offers training to law enforcement, intelligence and private sector officials on regulatory and financial crime subjects. He regularly serves as an expert witness in court cases or public hearings and consults with law firms, financial institutions, private security and consulting companies and various organizations. The organizations he has worked for include the following; the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), OECD, OSCE, the IMF, the World Bank, other multilateral and bilateral institutions, the United Nations (ODC, Development Programme, Security Council, etc.), the Caribbean FATF, the International Anti-Corruption Academy, the European Union, the US National Academy of Sciences, research institutions and government agencies in all continents.

His work with UNODC includes the design and initiation of the legal library of UNCAC-related national texts and the design and content of the UNCAC review mechanism software and checklist.

He served as team leader for a European Union Commission project on the control of proliferation/WMD finance. His current projects focus on anti-corruption authorities, the development of performance indicators for the assessment of anti-corruption, integrity and accountability in several countries, corruption and procurement regulation, trade-facilitated financial crime, the regulation of remittance flows in cash-based societies, and on use of IT for the enhancement of due diligence conducted by financial institutions. He organized the launching and coordinated a global inter-disciplinary academic initiative on anti-corruption courses and materials, supported by Northeastern University, UNODC, OECD, and the International Bar Association to reach out to universities and educational institutions around the world. He has been an INSPIRE Fellow at Tufts University’s Institute of Global Leadership, Consortium Member and Distinguished Inaugural Professor of Collective Action, Business Ethics and Compliance at the International Anti-Corruption Academy, Vienna and Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland.

TEDx Talk

  • TEDx talk on Debt, Austerity and Corruption in Greece. Link to talk


  • Legislative Guide for the Implementation of the UNCAC (all UN languages). Link to legal paper
  • Legislative Guide for the Implementation of the UNTOC (all UN languages). Link to legal paper
  • Submission to Australian Parliament Committee on foreign bribery with Simon Bronitt and other UQ colleagues. Link to legal paper

Testimony in Public Hearings

  • Passas testimony in US Congress on international trade, money laundering and terrorism finance. Link to video
  • Written Statement. Link to statement
  • Presentation before Greek Parliament on Anti-Corruption Strategy. Link to talk

Online papers, reports and books

  • Afghan Narcotrafficking Illicit Financial Flows Link to book
  • Following the money: Trump-Russia probes turn into hunt for finance criminality Link to interview
  • Discussing about the UN convention against transnational organized crime and other international instruments covering serious crimes ranging from gang activity to corruption and terrorism aired on the 16th May 2016 (In Chinese) Link to interview
  • Discussing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the way in which Japan is in the process of implementing it. (In Japanese) Link to report
  • Understanding Terrorism Financing Report prepared for the Major Commission of Inquiry into the Investigation of the Bombing of Air India Flight 182. Link to report
  • Collective Action for Trade Transparency against Financial Crime. Link to paper
  • Anti-corruption and the Role of Hands-on Academics. Link to paper
  • Hidden agendas, social norms and why we need to re-think anti-corruption. Link to paper
  • Financial Intermediaries and anti-money laundering in cash societies (U4 peer reviewed research paper). Link to publication
  • Passas, Nikos. (1999). Globalization, Criminogenic Asymmetries and Economic Crime. European Journal of Law Reform, 1(4), 399-423. Link to publication
  • Financial Controls and Counter-Proliferation. Link to publication
  • Financial monitoring and Iran. Link to publication
  • Iran, proliferation and bank controls. Link to publication
  • Cash on Trial; Passas chapter on “Informal Payments, Crime Control and Fragile Communities”. Link to publication
  • The Need for Collective action against Corruption (in Greek). Link to publication
  • Europe’s failed response to the refugee crisis. Link to publication
  • “Improving Remittance Operations in Africa” – On p7 of this document. Link to publication
  • Migrant Labor Remittances in S. Asia. Link to publication
  • Trade and illicit flows (in spanish). Link to publication
  • Tax evasion and anti-corruption in Greece. Link to publication
  • Greece, tax evasion and lack of due process (in english). Link to publication
  • Greek (Kathimerini) opinion piece on tax evasion and anti-corruption. Link to publication
  • 2004: Informal Value Transfer Systems, Money Laundering and Terrorism. Report to the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). Link to publication
  • 2005: Informal Value Transfer Systems and Criminal Activities. Cahier 2005-1. Research and Documentation Centre. The Hague: Ministry of Justice, The Netherlands. Link to publication
  • 1999: Informal Value Transfer Systems and Criminal Organizations: A Study into So-called Underground Banking Networks. The Hague: Ministry of Justice, The Netherlands. Link to publication
  • Other publications are available through my uploads on and on
  • Also, the paper “Fighting terror with error: the counter-productive regulation of informal value transfers” can be found here. Link to publication
  • 2004 “Law Enforcement Challenges in Hawala-related Investigations”. In Journal of Financial Crime 12(2), 112-119. Link to publication
  • 2004 “Indicators of Hawala Operations and Criminal Abuse”. In Journal of Money Laundering Control 8(2), 168-172. Link to publication
  • 2006 “Demystifying Hawala: A Look into its Social Organisation and Mechanics” in Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention 7(suppl. 1): 46-62. Link to publication

Conference and panel presentations

  • ANTICORRP Roundtable: Anti-Corruption from the Greek Crisis to the Panama Papers. Link to video
  • Panel discussion on leadership at Northeastern University. Link to video
  • Harvard University: Transition to a New Economy Conference – “this capitalism wears no cloths” and “we have an economy on drugs”
    Inter-American Bank google hangout on de-risking, informal economies and money laundering. Link to video
  • Security and crypto-currencies. Link to video
  • Anti-Corruption Academy of India Inaugural session speech – Bangalore 2016. Link to video
  • Governance in Kigali, Rwanda (unfortunately the last answer is cut short) – the need for strategy to “make honesty affordable” and in the meantime “regulate with a heart” (2016). Link to video
  • Delphi Economic Forum – collective action – 2016. Link to video
  • TI conference in Athens. Link to video


  • Contribution to the debate on the UN convention against transnational organized crime (UNTOC), national law requirements and terrorism. Link to interview
  • ABC Australia interview on sports and corruption. Link to interview
  • Russia Today – Worlds Apart interview on corruption around the globe. Link to interview
  • Petrobras and collective duty to fight corruption in Brazil. Link to interview
  • Anti-Corruption in Ukraine (Ukrainian). Link to interview
  • Anti-Corruption in Ukraine with Eva Joly and Drago Kos (in English). Link to interview
  • Ν. Πασσάς για διαφθορά: Οι κυβερνήσεις απλά αλλάζουν καρέκλες και όλοι μαζί οδεύουμε σε παγόβουνο. Link to interview
  • Conversation about 2016 Afreximbank conference on Due Diligence and Corporate Governance in Kigali, Rwanda (unfortunately the last answer is cut short) – the need for strategy to “make honesty affordable” and in the meantime “regulate with a heart” (2016). Link to interview
  • S. Korea radio interview on anti-corruption. Link to interview
  • Prof. Nikos Passas in conversation with Thanos P. Dokos on Values and Security. Link to interview

Online lectures