Who likes clean energy? Dirty money, that’s who.
At least that’s what Italian police are alleging, after having reined in the activities of renewable entrepreneur Vito Nicastri – AKA, the ‘Lord of the Wind’ – confiscating $1.7 billion of properties and bank accounts connected to renewable energy farms. These included 43 wind and solar companies, the Associated Press reported.
Police had already frozen Nicastri’s assets in 2010, after two southern Italian Mafia bosses were arrested – one of them Matteo Messina Denaro, considered the godfather of the Sicilian Mafia, also known as the Cosa Nostra – and revealed to have links to Nicastri.
Interestingly, the authorities don’t think Nicastri is an isolated case. Apparently, renewable energy is all the rage with the Mafia nowadays, especially in southern Italy, where it ‘owns’ considerable tracts of land and has a strong presence.
The criminal syndicate has found that it’s easier to launder money in the 21st century using renewable energy companies than resorting to more traditional mob businesses, press reports note. The real question now is how much of that illicit money helped generate the 5,000 megawatts that propelled Italy to rank as the world’s third-largest wind power producer in 2009.
Still, it just goes to show that, sometimes, good outcomes arise from bad situations.