- "Renewable energy seems like a good thing, run by saintly people saving the world," said Jason Wright,"...
- The businessman, Vito Nicastri, had invested heavily in renewable energy, seen as
- an emerging way for criminal groups to launder money.
The suspect is thought to be close to Matteo Messina Denaro, considered as the Mafia's current "boss of bosses".
- Among the assets seized were
43 wind and solar power companies registered in Sicily and in Calabria,
- the southern Italian region that is home to the 'Ndrangheta organised crime group.
Buildings, plots of land, and the contents of current accounts and other deposits were also confiscated."...
- And nowhere has the industry's reputation become more tarnished than Sicily, where windmills now dot the horizon in Mafia strongholds like Corleone, the town better known as the setting for the Godfather films.
"Nothing earns more than a wind farm," said Edoardo Zanchini, an environmental campaigner who has investigated Mafia infiltration of the industry. "Anything that creates wealth interests the Mafia."
- It is not just Italian criminals, however, who have spotted the potential for corruption. Recent research by Kroll, the international corporate security firm, has discovered
examples all over Europe of so-called "clean energy" schemes being used to line criminals' pockets rather than save the planet.
- Some involve windmills that stand derelict or are simply never built, while others are
- used to launder profits from other crime enterprises.
"Renewable energy seems like a good thing, run by saintly people saving the world," said Jason Wright,
- a senior director with Kroll, which performs background checks on renewable energy schemes on behalf of legitimate investors, and which has documented a sharp rise in the
- number of wind farms with suspect ownership."...
- "The project, worth hundreds of millions of euros (dollars), was first devised in 2003 and later uncovered by an investigation that included wiretaps, police said in a statement.
Investigators discovered that luxury cars and thousands of euros in
bribes were given to politicians to ensure that a Mafia-backed company won the lucrative public contract.
- The suspects also illegally accessed the municipality's safe to copy the proposal of a rival company, which was
- later excluded from the bidding."...