Published May 05, 2009
The Mafia may be going green.
Sicilian prosecutors are cracking down on Cosa Nostra involvement in the numerous small firms that build wind farms on the Mediterranean island, the Financial Times reports.
What's the attraction for organized crime? The best of intentions, of course. The European Union and the Italian government heavily subsidize the construction of alternative-energy facilities, and the operators are guaranteed high rates to maximize their profits.
A few wind farms that broke down because of lousy construction still received subsidies, prosecutor Roberto Scarpinato told the Financial Times.
"This is the amazing thing -- that developers got public money to build wind farms that did not produce electricity," he said.
Furthermore, locally-built wind farms are often bought up by multinational energy firms from other parts of Europe, none of which know the true identities of the original owners.
"A handful of people control the wind sector," said Scarpinato. "Many companies exist, but it is the same people behind them."
Eight arrests have already been made.