Forget drugs and gambling, these days the mafiosi are breaking into the low-carbon energy racket.
The Telegraph has an interesting article on crime syndicate infiltration of Europe’s wind energy business. With a nascent regulatory system and large amounts of money flowing through grants, loans and subsidies, the wind industry holds significant attractions for the Mafia.
On Tuesday, Italian police seized the assets of Vito Nicastri, a businessman with links to the current boss of the Sicilian Mafia. Among the 1.5 billion euros in confiscated assets were more than 40 wind and solar energy companies that appeared to be vehicles for money laundering. AFP interviewed Beppe Ruggiero, an official with the anti-Mafia association Libera:
The Mafia interest in clean energy is explained by the fact that it is a “new sector where there is more public money and less control,” Ruggiero said. “It allows the creation of new companies, and so the recycling of money. For organised crime, it’s a sector that was still unknown 15 years ago, but is becoming very important.”
Italy ranks sixth in the world in wind power, but this will be a story to keep your eye on around the globe as individuals and groups take advantage of early-stage alternative energy regulation.
Since Sofia Coppola just won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, maybe she can hang around Italy and direct Godfather IV: The Big Wind.