Each year mafia proceeds account for between €18 and €34 billion, Justice Minister Andrea Orlando was quoted in Il Sole 24 Ore as saying.
The figure is equivalent to 1.7 percent of Italy’s GDP (gross domestic product), the minister told parliament’s anti-mafia commission.
The drug trade was said to be equivalent to the total value of the country’s textile industry.
A report cited last year by Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, said 62 percent of the ‘Ndrangheta mafia’s money comes from drug trafficking. The mafia group, from Italy’s Calabria region, has an estimated €44 billion yearly income, according to the report.
Orlando’s estimate of mafia profits is far lower than the 10.9 percent attributed to the criminal economy by the Bank of Italy in 2012.
In May, the national statistics agency Istat announced it would start including revenues from drug trafficking, the sex trade and other criminal activities in its estimates of the country’s GDP.