Italy’s “Lord of the Wind” gets 9 years for financing mafia 

Posted: October 4, 2019 by oldbrew in Energy, Legal, News, wind
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[image credit: beforeitsnews.com]


Everything was definitely not clean about this major renewable energy operator. One report said that ‘crime and corruption crept in at several levels’.

Italy’s “Wind King”, or the “Lord of the Wind” Vito Nicastri has been sentenced to nine years in prison for channeling profits from his wind power business to the Cosa Nostra, says OilPrice.com.

The Guardian reports that Nicastri was stripped of his companies and property back in 2013 during an investigation into his ties with the Sicilian mafia. The assets that prosecutors seized were worth about $1.7 billion (1.3 billion euro).

Since then, the prosecution has established that Nicastri had “close ties to Matteo Messina Denaro” and other “high-level” contacts in the Sicilian mafia.

The wind power investor was accused of using criminal money to invest in his enterprises and playing the middleman between mafia bosses and local politicians by paying bribes to get permits for the manufacturing and delivery of wind turbines.

These turbines were delivered abroad to countries including Malta, Denmark, and Spain, and the profits made from these sales were channelled back into the Cosa Nostra and to Matteo Messina Denaro personally.

Denaro, who has been referred to by the media as the last Mohican of the old mafia, is living in hiding and has done so since the early 90s. According to the Palermo prosecutors, Vito Nicastri has been one of his main financial donors.

Initially, the prosecution asked for a 12-year sentence for Nicastri but the court ruled in favour of a shorter sentence.

Before his downfall, Nicastri operated as many as 43 wind and solar energy companies and had 98 properties.

At the time of his arrest and asset seizure, in 2013, the BBC quoted the head of the Palermo-based anti-mafia agency, Arturo de Felice, as saying “This [wind energy] is a sector in which money can easily be laundered.”

Apparently, in addition to its attraction as a legal way to make money, which is always a major consideration for criminals, wind energy is a good way of laundering dirty money.

In an article on the topic of Nicastri’s arrest in 2013, Rachana Raizada wrote for Renewable Energy World that:

“Crime and corruption crept in at several levels: applications for public grant funding through different legal entities so as to get multiple grants; acquiring land concessions; acquiring operating permits and authorisations from various government bureaucracies; contracts for public tenders; and procuring infrastructure construction services from mafia-certified suppliers.”

Full report here.

Comments
  1. ivan says:

    Big question, how many of the wind farm operators in the UK are doing the same – laundering dirty money, since everyone is afraid to ask questions about where the money goes with renewable energy?

  2. chaswarnertoo says:

    Windmill operators are crooks, whoda thunk it!

  3. oldbrew says:

    wind energy is a good way of laundering dirty money.

    The concrete bases might come in handy too 😎
    https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/concrete-overcoat.html

  4. Gamecock says:

    ‘The assets that prosecutors seized were worth about $1.7 billion (1.3 billion euro).’

    I wonder if that involves windmill valuations, and by whom.

    What’s an old windmill really worth?

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