Italian security officials have revealed that the police have seized 1.5 million euros in wind and solar assets Sicilian businessman Vito Nicastri (pictured), suspected of having links with the Mafia. It seems that organized crime has become in Italy, with dozens of companies operating in the solar and wind.

Italy is fast becoming a key player in European industry of renewable energy. After the new premiums adopted, solar photovoltaic and wind are growing around 20% annually, and in late 2009 and had nearly 5,000 MW installed and distributed in 294 parks, as public enterprise Energetici Gestore Servizi, which manages programs incentives for renewable energy.

While the Italian government held that these incentives are attracting investors should not feel so happy with the idea that this new market has become the target of the Mafia. Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said on Tuesday that the seizure of assets in solar and wind energy, among others, the employer Vito Nicastri is “the largest seizure of property” of the story. The minister said that at least 43 wind and solar companies were included in the database.

In a statement, the Rome anti-Mafia services say the businessman, 54, is suspected of laundering money for the Sicilian Mafia and has close links with the boss Matteo Messina Denaro. Vito Nicastri is known in the Italian wind industry as the “lord of the wind.”

“The Mafia uses clean energy to invest their dirty money,” he told AFP Italian journalist Lirio Abbate. “The infiltration of organized crime in the renewables sector is only beginning to come to light,” said Abbate, specializing in the business of the Mafia and police protection

“La Cosa Nostra is the infilitrarse has arrelgado for the wind energy sector in recent years taking advantage of the bad policies and bad bureaucracies,” said opposition Senator Giuseppe Lumia AFP

For its part, Beppe Ruggiero, a member of the anti-Mafia association Libera, notes that renewable energy investments “should not be discouraged,” but warns that “it is very important that it stays away from the activities of the Mafia” for renewables can contribute to the development of Italy, especially in the poorest areas of the south.

It seems, however, it is too late. The seizure of the assets of Nicastri confirms the interest that organized crime has on renewable energy, an interest that is explained by the fact that it is a “new area, with plenty of public money and little control,” concludes Ruggiero.

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