Sting operations reveal Mafia involvement in renewable energy


Inside a midnight-blue BMW, a Sicilian entrepreneur delivered his pitch to the accused mafia boss. A new business was blowing into Italy that could spin wind and sunlight into gold, ensuring the future of the Earth as well as the Cosa Nostra: renewable energy.

“Uncle Vincenzo,” implored the businessman, Angelo Salvatore, using a term of affection for the alleged head of Sicily’s Gimbellina crime family, 79-year-old Vincenzo Funari. According to a transcript of their wiretapped conversation, Salvatore continued: “For the love of our sons, renewable energy is important. . . . It’s a business we can live on.”

And for quite a while, Italian prosecutors say, they did. In an unfolding plot that is part “The Sopranos,” part “An Inconvenient Truth,” authorities swept across Sicily last month in the latest wave of sting operations revealing years of deep infiltration into the renewable-energy sector by Italy’s rapidly modernizing crime families.

The still-emerging links of the mafia to the once-booming wind and solar sector here are raising fresh questions about the use of government subsidies to fuel a shift toward cleaner energies, with critics claiming thathuge state incentives created excessive profits for companies and a market bubbleripe for fraud. China-based Suntech, the world’s largest solar panel maker, last month said it would need to restate more than two years of financial results because of allegedly fake capital put up to finance new plants in Italy. The discoveries here also follow “eco-corruption” cases in Spain, where a number of companies stand accused of illegally tapping state aid.

Because it receives more sun and wind than any other part of Italy, Sicily became one of Europe’s most obvious hotbeds for renewable energies over the past decade. As the Italian government began offering billions of euros annually in subsidies for wind and solar development, the potential profitability of such projects also soared — a fact that did not go unnoticed by Sicily’s infamous crime families.

Roughly a third of the island’s 30 wind farms — along with several solar power plants — have been seized by authorities. Officials have frozen more than $2 billion in assets and arrested a dozen alleged crime bosses, corrupt local councilors and mafia-linked entrepreneurs. Italian prosecutors are now investigating suspected mafia involvement in renewable-energy projects from Sardinia to Apulia.

“The Cosa Nostra is adapting, acquiring more advanced knowledge in new areas like renewable energy that have become more profitable because of government subsidies,” said Teresa Maria Principato, the deputy prosecutor in charge of Palermo’s Anti-Mafia Squad, whose headquarters here are emblazoned with the images of assassinated judges. “It is casting a shadow over our renewables industry.”

Revelations of malfeasance in one of Italy’s most promising new sectors is underscoring a recent push by one of the world’s largest criminal organizations into a host of legitimate businesses, from chain supermarkets to shopping malls. But perhaps most important, the mafia taint on an industry seen as a rare engine for new jobs in a country still mired in the region’s debt crisis is foreshadowing a massive challenge ahead for Europe.


if there is easy money to be had..the criminal elements will get involved..they see a sucker a mile away..and this is some of the easiest cash ever..i would suggest this is going on in other countries as well..

““The Cosa Nostra is adapting, acquiring more advanced knowledge in new areas like renewable energy that have become more profitable because of government subsidies,”


~ by seeker401 on February 4, 2013.

7 Responses to “Sting operations reveal Mafia involvement in renewable energy”

  1. Reblogged this on Johnsono ne'Blog'as.

  2. Does this surprise anyone? And if it’s over in Italy and Sicily, they are basically controlled by the mafia. That is no joke, the Godfather movies are like real life to them. I used to cover a lot of Organized Crime/Mafia/Drug Cartel stuff years ago in this country, and write articles on them and report it, but when I started to research Italy, I was shocked….they make the mob involvement over here look like child’s play. I am dead serious, your jaw would drop if you dig in deep and see just how far the mafia roots trace in Italy. They literally own that country. And Mexico with their drug cartels buying out the government there like they are doing now, that is not even close to how fucked up Italy and Sicily is by the La Cosa Nostra. I think personally the mexican drug cartels want to control Mexico like the mob does in Italy, but they are 3 steps behind these guys, especially when you start to realize the mafia has been alive for over a hundred years over there.

    • Yeah it’s totally entrenched in their way of life in Italy. They would lead back to overlords as well.

      • Its insulting here in America how they try to normalize the mafia into lifestyles by giving them all TV shows and crap. The Gotti’s got their shows to become celebrities, then the mob wives and daughters of those murderers get their reality shows and pampered celeb status. That is down right embarrassing. I’m sure the real Italians probably think we are morons over here for turning them into celebrities. They have to live with it, over here they chose that crap to glamorize it, they romance with the thug stuff way too much to make it cool. Over there they have arrested mob bosses and put them in prison with 10-15 guards watching them 24/7. That’s how serious it is over there. Of course in the good old U.S. they don’t take it that seriously, they romance with them way too much.

  3. […] Sting operations reveal Mafia involvement in renewable energy ( […]

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