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Criminal Energy: Mafia’s Renewable Investment

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Hannah Roberts, Daily Mail

The mafia is ramping up investment in wind farms to launder criminal earnings and benefit from generous EU subsidies, a report by Europe’s policing agency has warned. Attracted by generous EU and state handouts, and coupled with lax controls, the Europol analysis found that Italian  gangsters are increasingly  seeing renewable energy as easy pickings.

 

 

‘The Italian mafia is investing more and more in renewable energy, especially in wind farms, to profit from generous European grants paid for by member states which allow them to mix dirty money with legitimate economic activities,’ the report said.

The scam works on multiple levels, using the age-old formula of intimidation of landowners and infiltration of regional agencies that hand out subsidies and award contracts, observers believe.

Last year police confiscated 350million euros (£295million) worth of assets from one of Europe’s largest wind farms in Crotone, southern Italy, after it was linked to the Calabrian N’drangheta mafia.

In the south of Italy, where most of the wind farm development has taken place, it is thought that mafia clans had a stake in many of the companies involved.

Then, by infiltrating the public agencies that award wind farm contacts and distribute subsidies, they have been able to ensure they win the business.

Experts say the gangs strong-arm landowners into accepting wind farms, which destroy swathes of countryside, and threaten any construction firms that refused to pay extortion fees.

Tactics include using arson to destroy premises and expensive machinery followed up with threatening phone calls.

Some wind farms that were built by criminal groups have since been sold to genuine energy companies completely unconnected to the mafia. Others that were built with public money have never functioned.

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