The Strategist

Italian Mafia Earned 16 Billion Euro on Agriculture

02/18/2016 - 15:23

In 2015, Italian criminal organizations have earned more than 16 billion euros on agriculture and food trade, said a report of the agricultural association Coldiretti.
The organization pointed out that the mafia used the protracted crisis to enrich themselves. They launder money by selling fake food, practice extortion, steal cattle, rob farmers and seize agricultural land.

Illegal activities of criminals in the area of procurement and transportation of products, together with negative impact of monopolies, have increases cost of fruits and vegetables for consumers four times, noted Coldiretti.

The report emphasizes that the actions of criminals destroy the competition and stifle honest business, as well as threaten quality and safety of products and spoil their image.

According to the organization, the mafia is most active in the southern regions of the country, particularly in Sicily.

Association appeals to the authorities to toughen legislation to protect farmers from crimes.

In November 2015, it was reported that the Sicilian businessmen and shopkeepers raised a revolt against the mafia-controlled trade. As a result, police issued arrest warrants for 22 people. Local entrepreneurs are often forced to choose between paying money to the bandits from Cosa Nostra, or wrath of the criminals. If someone refuses to pay, the mafia may set fire to his shop, or even kill, according to Reuters. The agency notes that many economists believe that crime is an important factor limiting the economy’s development in the south of Italy.

Richer than McDonald’s

For comparison, here’s income of the Italian mafia ‘Ndrangheta’ (Calabria, southern Italy) for 2013. It amounted to about 53 billion euros. This is 9 billion euros more than revenue of the US McDonald's Corporation and the German Deutsche Bank combined. Thus, the Calabrian mafia revenues amounted to 3.5% of Italy's GDP.

The bulk of ‘Ndrangheta’s revenues is money received from participation in drug trafficking and waste management activities (24.2 billion and 19.6 billion euros respectively). This writes the British newspaper The Guardian, citing a report of the Italian Demoskopika Research Institute. The document is based on the analysis of data, which the Institute’s experts received from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Italy and the special commission of the Italian Parliament.

According to the study, extortion and usury brought about 3 billion euros to the mafia in 2013; misappropriation of money - almost 2.5 billion euros, and gambling - 1.3 billion euros. Sale of weapons, prostitution, counterfeit goods and smuggling were less profitable and offered only 1 billion euros.

‘Ndrangheta’ is active not only in Italy. The criminals are cooperating with Sicilian Clan ‘Cosa Nostra’ and the Neapolitan ‘Camorra’. ‘Ndrangheta’s activities is coordinated by nearly 400 key people in 30 countries. Overall, there is at least 60 thousand people involved in various illegal acts.