The Italian Mafia has heavily infiltrated the country’s renewable energy sector, according to reports of sting operations there.
Since the early 2000s, when governments started flooding global energy markets with cheap loans, organized crime elements have taken advantage of loose money and oversight to penetrate multinational corporations.
In a typical scenario, says The Washington Post, Mafia bosses have been shaking down local land permit holders and leasing their permits to developers, seeking to build solar parks and wind farms as part of subsidy programs.
A Mafia informant told BBC News that criminal groups have been partners in companies issued state subsidies. They have also manipulated accounting at different stages to hide payments to themselves, according to the informant.
President Barack Obama made a renewed push for renewable energy in his second inaugural address this week.
“The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition. We must lead it,” he said.