Italy crime group worth more than some nations' GDP
ROME, May 21 (Reuters) - The 'Ndrangheta, the Italian organised crime group, does yearly business equivalent to some 3 percent of Italy's economy and more than the total of that of some small European nations, according to a study on Wednesday.
The crime group, which has overtaken the Sicilian Mafia for control of drug trafficking, was responsible for the slaying of six Italians in a pizzeria in Germany last August.
The Eurispes research group estimated that the 'Ndrangheta's turnover -- ranging from drugs and extortion to arms trafficking and prostitution -- was valued at 44 billion euros in 2007.
This was equivalent to 2.9 percent of Italy's gross domestic product in the same year and about equal to the GDP of two small European Union countries -- Slovenia and Estonia -- combined.
Italy has the euro-zone's third largest economy.
Crime experts say the 'Ndrangheta, based in the southern Calabria region, overtook the Mafia in the 1990s as Italy's largest drug trafficking group and has since spread throughout Europe and beyond.
Feuds between clans of the 'Ndrangheta have flared over the years, with the latest explosion of violence occurring in Duisberg, Germany, outside a pizzeria last August.
The report, called "'Ndrangheta Holding," said the Calabrian mob's drug business alone in 2007 was estimated at about 27.2 billion euros, or some 62 percent of its total illegal profits.
"We defined it as a 'holding company' because the 'Ndrangheta, more than all other crime organisations, acts in business terms like a company that holds a majority stake in satellite companies, the clans, which nurture it and make up the complex network structure," said Eurispes president Gian Maria Fara.
"Because of its ability to act as a network, it survives and extends its ramifications riding the wave of opportunities offered by a globalised world," he told reporters.