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‘Mafia Inc’ is Italy’s biggest earning firm

According to a report, the Mafia is now Italy's biggest business, earning more than £63 billion a year from extortion, drugs and prostitution, reports Vijay Dutt.

world Updated: Oct 25, 2007 01:10 IST
Vijay Dutt
Vijay Dutt
Hindustan Times

It's official. ‘Mafia Inc’ has the highest turnover of any company in Italy.

Yes, according to a report, the Mafia is now Italy's biggest business, earning more than £63 billion a year from extortion, drugs and prostitution.

The turnover raked in by gangsters last year surpassed that of the Italian oil company ENI by £2.78bn and was almost twice that of Fiat, according to a report by the small-business group Confesercenti.

Tano Grasso, the head of Italy's anti-racketeering commission, said that the Mafia made £21 bn from extortion last year, with 160,000 businesses, mostly in southern Italy.

As a result, only one in 10 foreign investors set up companies in the south, he said. Theft, racketeering and contraband goods brought in another £15 bn, while pirated handbags and DVDs accounted for £5bn.

According to Confesercenti, 165,000 companies and 50,000 hotels went bust between 2004 and 2006 because of mafia demand of 10 per cent protection money the exact estimate of the drug trade cannot be made though insiders say it could be as high as £40 bn.

However, Itlay's four main criminal organisations — the Cosa Nostra in Sicily, Sacra Corona Unita in Puglia, Camorra in Naples and 'Ndrangheta in Calabria — are now branching out into legitimate more industries, such as food.

The report said Italy's huge number of small, family-owned firms is particularly at risk of having to pay a pizzo, or protection money, to the Mafia. About 80 per cent of Sicilian businesses cough up a pizzo of as much as £350 a month, despite another business group on the island warning recently that it would expel any member who paid protection.

First Published: Oct 25, 2007 01:03 IST