Italian police seized a record $1.9 billion in assets linked to the Sicilian Mafia, and among the luxury cars, yachts, and financial investments were 43 companies tied to wind and solar energy production. The center of the sting was Sicilian businessman Vito Nicastri, called "Lord of the Wind" because of his vast wind farms, who has alleged ties to top Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro. Why is the Mob going "green"?
Saving the earth would certainly be a change: Let's just say "the Italian mafia doesn't exactly have the best environmental record," says Joshua Keating in Foreign Policy. Their normal idea of "waste management," after all, "involves dumping hundreds of barrels of toxic waste into the Mediterranean." But hey, in this day and age I guess "even the wise guys" are worried about the fate of the planet.
"The Mafia goes green"
They're in it for the "green," but not in an Al Gore sense: Thanks to generous EU subsidies, wind energy "may be today’s most lucrative sector," says Ben Hines in Tiny Green Bubble. Eco-scamming probably isn't as glamorous as "moving cocaine and drugs through a sexy underworld full of women in tight dresses," but the Mafia "doesn’t care about image as much as it cares about money."
"The Mafia has moved on from drugs to wind energy"
Wind energy has gone mainstream: The "eco Mafia" is spread throughout Europe, not just Italy, says Leon Kaye in Triple Pundit. But "in the big picture, the amount of corruption in the renewable energy sector is relatively small," and wind-power enthusiasts can take heart that "one sign of a maturing industry is that the Mafia find their way into the business."
"Italy’s Mafia goes where the wind blows"
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