Italian authorities have seized a record $1.7 billion in assets from a Sicilian green energy entrepreneur with alleged ties to the Mafia.
Vito Nicastri, called the “king of alternative energy” for his extensive holdings in green-energy companies, stands accused of evading taxes by only declaring a fraction of the value of his businesses. He has been placed under surveillance by police and must remain in Alcamo, Italy for three years.
Police seizures included “43 companies, 98 pieces of real-estate including buildings, homes, stores and land; 66 bank accounts, credit cards and investment funds,” according to the Associated Press.
The Washington Post reported that the Mafia has been getting involved in the green energy businesses for the past decade as governments began to pour vast sums of money into renewable energy development.
The mob has been shaking down local land permit holders in order to lease their permits to green-energy developers and get a generous subsidy for doing so. The Italian government has been investigating the “eco-corruption” and has seized about 30 wind farms and several solar power plants on the island of Sicily. Italian officials have also frozen more than $2 billion in assets and arrested alleged Mafia crime bosses, along with corrupt local officials and businessmen.
However, this phenomenon is not isolated to Italy. Spain has also suffered from “eco-corruption,” with some companies illegally receiving government subsidies.
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