Italy's black economy - including Mafia - worth 13 per cent of GDP

Italy's black economy - including drug and tobacco smuggling, prostitution and other businesses typically run by Mafia groups - is worth about one eighth of its gross domestic product (GDP), official estimates said Friday.

The data from national statistics office Istat covered the period up to 2014.

The agency said undeclared economic activities - mostly connected to tax evasion or illegal work - accounted for the bulk of the estimate, producing about 195 billion euros (215 billion dollars) of economic output.

It is unlcear how much of that figure can be linked to the Mafia, as tax dodging and employing people with no regular contracts is widespread across different sections of Italian society.

Explicitly illegal trades more closely related to organized crime were worth just under 17 billion euros, including 11.6 billion euros derived from drug trafficking and 3.7 per cent from prostitution, Istat estimated.

The proportion of Italian GDP created via undeclared or illicit activities rose during 2011-14 - a period of severe economic crisis - from 12.4 to 13 per cent. In particular, the proportion of people employed irregularly rose from 14.5 to 15.7 per cent.

Following a change in European Union accounting rules applying from 2011, criminal activities have been factored into GDP calculations for the bloc's member states. When Istat adopted the new parameters in 2014, Italy's economy looked notably bigger.

The EU's fourth-largest economy has an endemic problem with organized crime and tax cheating. It is home to at least three major organized groups: Cosa Nostra in Sicily, the Camorra around Naples, and the 'Ndrangheta in Calabria.

Last update: Fri, 14/10/2016 - 16:31

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