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A talk with the man behind “DONNIE BRASCO”

The ISO 37001 & Anti-Bribery PECB Insights Conference introduced us to the former FBI agent, Joe Pistone, who lived six years in the Mafia underworld, winning the trust of the most notorious mobsters, infiltrating the Bonanno and Colombo crime families, and gathering damning evidence that helped put more than a hundred leading Mafia members behind bars.

Donnie Brasco undertook a risky mission; to live in the constant danger of being discovered, were blowing a line might have meant death. It takes a lot of courage and commitment to giving up 6 years of your life living behind a mask and never losing sight of who you truly are, and Joe Pistone was capable of doing that.

After his incredibly practical and valuable session on the global organized crime at the PECB Insights Conference, we had the chance to have a conversation with Pistone, where he further described the “art of investigation” and the incredible lengths he went to. As an FBI agent, Joe Pistone was assigned the duty of investigating crimes by using his unconventional methods and expert investigative skills. As Joe Pistone said: ‘’I just so happen to be good at it and it was a good way to fulfill my duties as an FBI agent.’’ Had he refused the Donnie Brasco job, Joe Pistone probably would have been an FBI agent for 27 years, would have worked in fugitives, bank robberies, just general organized crimes activities, and would have had more time to spent with his family. But as he said ‘’that’s the way it worked out, and I don’t have any regrets.’’

”What motivated me to work undercover was basically to do the right thing’’


Life after Donnie Brasco


Pistone is the author of the 1988 book Donnie Brasco: “My Undercover Life in the Mafia” where he uncovered his mysterious life and experience. The book was made into a movie known as Donnie Brasco, starring Johnny Depp and Al Pacino. He is also the author of “The way of the Wiseguy” (2004) and “Donnie Brasco Unfinished Business” (2007).

Today, Pistone addresses and educates Global Organized Crime in many countries.

Global organized crime and corruption are not isolated criminal activities, but rather one gives rise to the other. Bribery creates a fertile ground for global criminal activities, ‘’because again everything starts with a bribe’’ explained Pistone.

When discussing the challenges of combating bribery and global organized crime, Pistone blamed the education system for failing to fight the global organized crime, because as he said ‘’most of the public does not realize that the global organized crime is global’’. As such, individuals must be informed and attention must be drawn to the fact that misconduct has severe, cross-border ramifications.

Moreover, Pistone also elaborated on the role that private companies have in fighting global organized crime. “Organized Crime is global,” according to Pistone, private companies can give a substantial contribution by conducting training sessions, organizing conferences, or enhancing awareness on organized crime. ‘’I think it is important that the companies such as yours stay involved in conferences where the topics revolve around global organized crime’’ claimed Pistone.

When asked about the outcome that he wants to achieve by talking about the global organized crime, Pistone answered: ‘’The impact that I want to make is that there is global organized crime number one and that it’s a team effort basically, from all governments and also private companies to help combat global organized crime, because if it keeps growing, I mean it cuts into economics of the country, even into private companies, so the impact: you beat it, I don’t know if you will ever eliminate it, but to keep a lid on it, to keep abreast of what are doing so we maybe will be able to head off the criminal activity before they can become involved in it”.

The fearless undercover work of Pistone unveiled many truths about the global organized crime, and he remains a living reminder of the sacrifices taken to fight crime and corruption

Watch the whole interview exclusively on our YouTube channel 



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