White collar crime (Fr.: criminalité en col blanc, Gr.: εγκλήματα λευκού περιλαιμίου, Gr.:  οικονομικά εγκλήματα / εγκλήματα ανώτερων τάξεων, Cz.: hospodářská trestná činnost) (See also: economic crime, occupational crime, corporate crime, organized crime, blue-collar crime) = a nonviolent crime, designed to produce financial gain, committed in the course of its perpetrator's occupation. As coined by Edwin Sutherland in 1939, the term originally referred to crimes committed by professionals of high social status, a working class defined at the time by their ‘white collar shirts’. 

Fraud, insider trading, money laundering, antitrust violations, embezzlement, bribery, crimes related to corruption and taxation are typically characterised as white collar crimes.


Useful Links

Legislation - 1988 United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances [English] - 1988 Council of Europe and OECD Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters [English] - 2000 United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime [English] - 2003 United Nations Convention against Corruption [English] - The North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) [English] - USA Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, 1977 [English] - Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA of 22 July 2003 on combating corruption in the private sector [English] - Directive 2014/42/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 on the freezing and confiscation of instrumentalities and proceeds of crime in the European Union [English] - Trafic d' influence, Art. 433-2 Code Pénal Francais [French] - Crimes related to Greek taxation law violations, art. 17-21 [Greek] - Money Laundering Regulations [Greek] - Wet op de economische delicten, The Netherlands Law on Economic Crimes [Dutch] - Bundesgesetz über das Verwaltungsstrafrecht, Swiss Administrative Criminal Law [German, French, Italian, Romanian]

Organisations and associations - The Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units  [Canada] - Federal Bureau of Investigation [USA] - Interpol [France] - The OECD's Anti- Corruption Task Team [France] - The United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice [USA] - The World Bank Group [USA]

Online Publications - Sutherland, Edwin, 1940, White Collar Criminality - Sutherland, Edwin, 1945, Is ‘White Collar Crime’ Crime?


Courakis, E. Nestor, 1998, Economic crimes, 2nd edition, Greece, Ant. N. Sakkoula [Greek]

Kaiafa-Gbandi, Maria, 2014, Economic Crime and Corruption in the Public Sector, Greece, P. N. Sakkoula [Greek]

Wright Mills, Charles, 2002, White Collar: The American Middle Classes, 15th Anniversary Edition, USA, Oxford University Press [English] 

Wise, M. Edward, Podgor, S. Ellen, Clark, S. Rodger, 2010, International Criminal Law: Cases and Materials, 3rd edition, USA, LexisNexis [English]

Zagaris, Bruce, 2010, International White Collar Crime: Cases and Materials, USA, Cambridge University Press [English]


By Angeliki Tsanta