|Founded in||Around 2840 CE|
The Otoni Syndicate, or Otoni Group is an outlaw group known as one of the most enduring criminal organizations in Human space. Over the span of more than a hundred years of activity, they have slowly expanded, and amassed great wealth and influence amongst their region of operation.
They operate in several systems, including, but not limited to:
The Journal of Imperial Economics recently placed the Otoni Group on their list of the UEE's most powerful corporations, as they estimated that the group’s annual revenues rival some of the empire’s most notable companies.
Also, a report by the government watchdog group Responsible Citizens United released in 2912 links several elected officials and lobbyists to suspected members of Otoni Group and business entities.
2945 Storm Securities incident
OP.NET Merc News and Plain Truth mentioned the Otoni in connection with an incident in 2945. Members of the Syndicate attacked a cargo hauler secured by Storm Securities and were defeated. One of the killed members was an undercover Advocacy agent. The Advocacy claimed that the Storm mercenaries killed the agent after he revealed his identity and surrendered.
History of the Syndicate is difficult to determine because of its underworld nature. The current historical information is considered skeptical, but the Advocacy considers it most likely closest to the truth.
The group's origins trace back to one of Angeli's city-run social houses in the Croshaw system in the middle of the 29th century. There, three orphans, Arthur Mendies, Lauda Viscaso and Tio Quast came together to provide each other protection against the gangs that operate there. With their combined skills they profited to make life more manageable in the facility.
Together, they were released onto the streets of Angeli at age sixteen, where the trio continued their allegiance and made their way through the city's vast underworld. For a time, they ran small-time criminal schemes to eke out an existence, but preferred to rather enhance their position without angering established gangs. This is when the trio set themselves up as a freelance service agency exclusively catered to criminals. Their operations consisted of counterfeit IDs, procuring black market items or acting as freelance hitters. They would become known as being patient, persistent, intelligent, and vicious.
The coming decade would see only growth for the trio, as the destruction of the Curved Blade syndicate splintered the existing criminal dynasty into many small gangs all vying for control. This provided the trio with an almost endless supply of clients in the 2840s. That is when the trio rebranded themselves as the Otoni Group, named after the social house they all met. The coming time, the group masterfully played warring gangs against each other to elevate themselves. They were no longer afraid to upset a single other criminal entity. To avoid attention from law enforcement officials, they carefully screened their clients and skillfully hid their illegal activities behind a myriad of shell companies. Soon the scope of their operations included drug production, smuggling, and even Human trafficking. The continuous bloodshed by the underworld had law enforcement distracted from seriously investigating the Otoni Group, until it was too late. Otoni had taken control of Angeli and planned to expand on the wider Croshaw system. The group had become the next major power player and had expertly covered their tracks.
Croshaw and further expansion
Their success continued, and with similar methods as before they had also extended their control over the Croshaw system's underworld by the end of the 2850s. Nearing the end of the 29th century, reports saw the Otoni group also appear in the Ferron system, which would be their first interstellar expansion. But this would not be their last. The group refined a process for acquiring new territory, in which they would first send in scouts to assess the local criminal players, and then quietly insert themselves into the black market. Slowly establishing a new 'franchise' of the Otoni Group would then permanently set them up in a system. Because of this leadership hierarchy, each branch of the Otoni Group could coordinate collectively, but operate independently. Therefore the group was also very effective at eluding law enforcement. When the Advocacy was close to crack down on the local leadership, the trail would die at the jump points and the rest continued to survive, re-emerging as a local chapter elsewhere.
Structure and operating style
The entire group is structured more like a corporation than a gang. This in itself shows how professional the Otoni Group considers their operation. With every move, they factor in risk assessment and financial impact when it comes to human lives. They usually prefer violence over havoc an death in order to attract the most attention, but will not hesitate to kill if it provides them with a straight win. Their operatives carry no specific tag, patch or clothing, so identifying them visually can be difficult. They however are renowned for being overwhelmingly cold and calculating, as well as being almost completely indifferent when talking about their business in matters of life and death.
Of the original founding members, only Arthur Mendies is still alive. Lauda Viscaso died from natural causes and Tio Quast died from complications in surgery. None of them were ever indicted, convicted or ever spent any time in prison. For many people, this proves how much political influence the Otoni Group has.
The following is a list of suspected, confirmed or possible implications of illegal activity that the Otoni Group is involved in.
- (Dealing in) forgery, such as reg-tags
- Orchestrating assassinations on corrupt politicians / criminal rivals
- Drug production and dealing
- Human trafficking