Christine Duhaime | antimoneylaunderinglaw.com
Europol report ties mafia to renewable energy
This week, Europol released yet another report tying the financing, development and operation of renewable energy projects, particularly wind energy infrastructure projects, to organized crime in Europe.
The latest Europol report follows on the heels of an earlier one, the “Serious & Organized Crime Threat Assessment 2013″, which similarly found that organized crime is involved in, and in some instances controls, renewable energy financings and project developments for the purposes of laundering proceeds of crime.
Lord of the wind
The alleged mafia and kingpin of wind energy, the so-called “Lord of the Wind”, Vito Nicastri, is effectively under house arrest in Italy and €1.7 billion in corporate assets that he controlled were recently permanently forfeited to the state. Mr. Nicastri hasn’t been convicted of an offence in connection with the forfeited assets. The assets forfeited included shares in 40 companies, 100 properties, including wind farms and the assets thereon, 66 bank accounts, life insurance policies, seven exotic sports cars and luxury yachts.
According to an EU fraud report, Mr. Nicastri had a criminal record dating back to 1996 when he was convicted of wind farm fraud in connection with improper payments of €15 million and of bribing public officials to obtain contracts. That should have been a red flag in the transactional due diligence process and a bar to any EU or national procurements or approval of any government licenses. Mr. Nicastri is alleged to have ties to the Cosa Nostra.
The Camorra are also alleged to be involved in renewable energy to launder proceeds of crime. In Europe, the Camorra are alleged to have large and profitable criminal operations in France, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands (in addition to Italy). In the U.S., they are one of 4 designated “transnational criminal organizations”, having infiltrated the U.S. financial system to launder proceeds of crime from drug trafficking and other serious crimes.