Contraband is big business in Greece

Organized crime in the European Union generates about 110 billion euros a year, corresponding to around 1 percent of the EU’s gross domestic product, a recent report commissioned by the European Commission found, with the bulk of that coming from the “traditional” market of illegal narcotics.

The report, titled “From Illegal Markets to Legitimate Businesses: The Portfolio of Organized Crime in Europe,” compiled by Project OCP – Organized Crime Portfolio, found that in Greece, organized crime generates just under 3.6 billion euros, corresponding to 1.6 percent of GDP (in 2010), significantly more than in Croatia (134 million euros; 0.3 pct/GDP) but also less than in Latvia, where 514 million euros of proceeds account for 2.8 percent of GDP.

In the EU as a whole, drugs account for 27.7 billion euros of revenues for traffickers. Drug trafficking is also big business in Greece, where heroin is estimated to bring in around...

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