An Italian renewable energy entrepreneur dubbed ‘Lord of the Wind’ has been jailed for nine years after channeling funds to a notorious mafia chief.
Vito Nicastri was locked up by a judge in Palermo after six years of investigation following the 2013 seizure of €1.3bn ($1.43bn) of assets, including 43 companies involved in wind and solar.
Prosecutors claim Nicastri was a key figure in getting funds to Matteo Messina Denaro, a Sicilian mob boss on the run since 1993 who is one of the world’s most wanted men. A witness told police that Nicastri would always have “a bag full of money” for Denaro’s associates, reported La Repubblica.
Nicastri’s renewable energy empire unwittingly dragged in legitimate players in the global wind and solar sectors, which found themselves linked to investigations into whether the mafia was ‘going green’.
For example, Danish developer Greentech saw a 15% stake in a Sicilian wind farm it bought from Nicastri seized by mafia investigators in September 2010.
Greentech – which was never accused of any wrongdoing – finally got the share released by a court a year later.