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Nikos Passas

Headshot of Nikos Passas

Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Nikos Passas is professor of criminology and criminal justice at Northeastern University, and co-director of the Institute for Security and Public Policy. He is also visiting professor at the Basel Institute on Governance; visiting professor at Vienna University of Applied Sciences for Management & Communication’s Center for Corporate Governance & Business Ethics; distinguished visiting professor at Beijing Normal University; professor, distinguished practitioner in financial integrity and senior fellow of the Financial Integrity Institute at Case Western Reserve Law School; head of 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 received a 2017 Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award from Tufts University’s Institute on Global Leadership.

His law degree is from the Univ. 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 Faculty of Law. He is a member of the Athens Bar (Greece). He is fluent in 6 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 220 articles, book chapters, reports and books in 14 languages. His next book is entitled Trade-Based Financial Crime and Illicit Flows.

He is a co-author of United Nations Non-Proliferation Sanctions on Iran and North Korea (2016), the author of 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) and editor of 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), and Organized Crime (1995). In addition, he has 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 editor-in-chief of the international journal Crime, Law and Social Change and associate editor in a number of journals. He served as chair of the Am. Soc. of Criminology International Division and as 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 expert witness in court cases or public hearings and consults with law firms, financial institutions, private security and consulting companies and various organizations, including 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 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, distinguished visiting fellow at the TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland, and corruption program director at the Ethics and Compliance Officer Association (ECOA).

View CV

TEDx Talk

  • TEDx talk on Debt, Austerity and Corruption in Greece


Testimony in Public Hearing

Online papers

Conference presentations



  • Financial Transnational Crime. Ashgate. (2013)
  • Controlling Terrorist Financing. Springer. (forthcoming)
  • Essays  in  Honor  of  Prof.  C.D.  Spinellis:  Interdisciplinary  Criminological Pathways/ (co-edited with N. Courakis et al.). Athens: Sakkoulas. 2010
  • The Evolving Challenge of Identity-Related Crimes: Addressing Fraud and the Criminal Misuse and Falsification of Identity (with Christopher Ram and Demosthenis Chryssikos). Milan: International Scientific and Professional Advisory Council of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme (ISPAC). 2008.
  • The United Nations Convention against Corruption as a Way of Life. (with Dimitri Vlassis). Milan: International Scientific and Professional Advisory Council   of   the   United   Nations   Crime   Prevention   and   Criminal   Justice Programme (ISPAC). 2007.
  • Legislative  Guide  for  the  Implementation  of  the  United  Nations  Convention against Corruption. Vienna: UN Office of Drugs and Crime. 2006. Available at:
  • A   Comparative   Analysis   of   National   Anti-Corruption   Legislation   and Programmes. (New York: UN Development Programme). 2006.
  • Migrant Labor Remittances in South Asia (with S. Maimbo, R. Adams, R. Aggarwal). Washington, DC: The World Bank. 2005.
  • Regulating Hawala   and   other   Informal   Funds   Transfer   Systems. (Ed.) Washington, DC: IMF. 2005.
  • Informal  Value  Transfer  Systems  and  Criminal  Activities. Cahier  2005-1.
  • Research and Documentation Centre. The Hague: Ministry of Justice, The Netherlands.
  • It’s Legal, but It Ain’t Right: Harmful Social Consequences of Legal Industries. (Ed. with Neva Goodwin). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 2004.
  • International Crimes (Ed.). Aldershot: Dartmouth. 2003.
  • Legislative  Guide  for  the  Implementation  of  the  United  Nations  Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime. Vienna: UN Office of Drugs and Crime; and Vancouver: International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy. 2003.
  • Upperworld and Underworld in Cross-Border Crime. (Ed. with Petrus van Dyune and Klaus von Lampe). Nijmegen: Wolf Legal Publishers. 2002.
  • Informal Value Transfer Systems and Criminal Organizations: A Study into So-called Underground Banking Networks. The Hague: Ministry of Justice, The Netherlands. 1999.
  • Transnational Crime (Ed.); Aldershot: Dartmouth. 1999.
  • The Future of Anomie Theory. (Ed. with Robert Agnew); Northeastern University Press. 1997.
  • Organized Crime (Ed.); Aldershot: Dartmouth. 1995.
  • Education

    Ph.D., 1988, Sociology of Deviance
    University of Edinburgh

  • Contact

  • Address

    401C Churchill Hall
    360 Huntington Avenue
    Boston, MA 02115

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