People are fascinated by organized crime. If that weren’t true, there wouldn’t be so many movies, TV shows and books about it. But in most mainstream portrayals, the mob plies its trade in traditional ways: controlling gambling, prostitution, protection, extortion or loan-sharking.
Recent developments prove that the mafia has evolved and infiltrated industries that don’t bring Al Capone to mind. Case in point: Italian law enforcement has recently uncovered deep links between the Cosa Nostra and wind and solar power companies, seizing around 30 percent of the wind farms built in Sicily and freezing more than $2 billion in various assets. A dozen crime bosses have been carted off in handcuffs, along with corrupt officials and business people. But is that the end of the story?
It’s doubtful. This recent sting operation is similar to a 2010 police operation that involved the seizing of over 40 companies, hundreds of parcels of land, buildings, factories, bank accounts, stocks, cars and yachts from Sicilian businessman Vito Nicastri, 54, also known as “Lord of the Wind” because of his investments in alternative energy businesses, mostly wind farms and solar panel factories. History often repeats itself, so don’t be surprised if a similar bust takes place in a few years.
So what draws the Mafia to renewable energy? Is the mob really going green?
Maybe, but it’s more likely that certain individuals are looking for the same kind of green they’ve always sought — the green of dollar bills.