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Many experts say organized crime is already the biggest business in Italy. Now, Fara said, the untaxed underground economy is growing even larger. "Certainly I am worried," he said. "The banking system doesn't work, and the private one that is operating is often managed by organized crime." The consequences for Italy and its 58 million people are huge, Fara said: "Stronger organized crime means a weaker state."
Nino Miceli, an adviser to Confesercenti, said the Mafia's goal is to take over the struggling businesses. When the loans, typically at interest rates in triple digits, are not repaid, the threats of violence begin, and restaurants, grocery stores and bars become the property of criminal gangs.