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Morning Market Roundup: Mafia Banks Run Italy, Google Strikes Gold in Spain

Here’s what’s important in the financial world this morning:

EU: As addressed earlier on The Blaze, Italy's Mafia has taken advantage of Italy’s economic crisis and is now the country’s biggest “bank,” according to Reuters. Lending by the criminal group has grown to an annual turnover of €140 million ($178.89 billion) with profits of more than €100 billion. According to the anti-crime group SOS Impresa, the Mafia has €65 billion in liquidity, which makes it Italy’s largest bank.

Germany: The EU’s strongest economy is feeling the effects of the euro zone debt crisis as it 2011 fourth quarter GDP contracted by around 0.25 percent, according to the Statistics Office while preliminary data showed it grew 3.0 percent in 2011. Germany did outperform its peers for most of 2011 thanks to strong domestic demand and exports. Looking ahead to this year, the Bundesbank expects 0.6 percent growth in 2012, lower than the government’s official 1.0 percent forecast, while think tank IMK predicted a mild recession.

(Related: Lagarde, Merkel Meet to Move Forward Greek Debt Restructuring.)

Google: The tech giant will see its greatest enterprise contract ever with Spain’s bank, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA. The bank has signed on to use Google Apps for its 110,000 worldwide employees. Analysts see the deal as an “important” first step in helping the search engine giant grab more contracts in the financial sector.

Alibaba: Alibaba will take a $3 billion loan to buy back part of the 40 percent stake held by Yahoo!, according to sources, down from $4 billion. The decreased loan may attract more lenders to the deal while Alibaba will use cash reserves to make up for the difference, estimated to be at least $3 billion.

Washington-based private equity firm Carlyle Group said on Tuesday it would list its stock on the Nasdaq under the symbol “CG.” Its nine-month net profit and revenue rose around 60 percent to $918.1 million and $2.01 billion respectively. This profit rise enabled Carlyle’s three founders to receive a combined $413 million last year, mostly in distributions, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

[Editor’s note: the above is a cross post that originally appeared on Wall St. Cheat Sheet.]

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