Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Italian Police Raid Yet Another Mafia Operated 'Green Energy' Shell Company

Police in Sicily have arrested six people with suspected ties to fugitive cosa nostra leader Matteo Messina Denaro and seized and estimated  €10 billion in assets last week as part of an ongoing investigation into the mafia's involvement with wind and solar energy companies.

Police said Mafia members got contracts for work on wind farms and solar-energy plants near Agrigento, Palermo and Trapani. A wave of arrests over recent years have closed the net around fugitive 50-year-old Agrigento-based boss Denaro, one of the world's 10 most-wanted men, who took control of Cosa Nostra after the 2006 arrest of Bernardo Provenzano.
A Sicilian judge has ordered that the funds of a Malta-based holding company be frozen after investigators learned that Valetta-based Eryngium, Inc was the recipient of a number of funds from the properties allegedly connected to Denaro and the costa nostra.

In recent years, green/renewable energy projects have proven attractive to Italian organized crime groups like the cost nostra in Sicily or the 'Ndragheta in Calabria. In addition to Italy buying the electricity from such projects at generous rates, there's also the opportunity to siphon off grants and subsidies from both Rome and the EU as well as using the wind and solar businesses to launder funds from other criminal activity such as drug trafficking and extortion.

Exit question- is the Italian mafia providing organized crime groups elsewhere with a blueprint for bilking public funds and laundering money through 'green energy' companies?

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