Gangsters Go Green! Mafia Tied to Fraudulent Italian Wind Farms - Madagascar 'Timber Mafia' Thriving

italy wind farm photo

photo: Chiara Marra via flickr.

There have been an increasing number of stories coming to light detailing how organized crime syndicates around the world have been getting their dirty little fingers into the green world. The latest: 1) Italian police have arrested two businessmen on fraud charges, linking them with Mafia in wind farm permit fixing schemes; and 2) The government of Madagascar (such as it is) appears to be tied in with what's being called a 'timber mafia', profiting from illegal wood sales largely sent to China:

anti-mafia protest photo

photo: Santino Patanè via flickr
Millions in Public Funds Taken for Fake Wind Farms
Environmental Leader reports that Oreste Vigorito, head of Italian Vento Power Corporation and president of Italy's national wind power association, and Sicilian businessman Vito Nicastri were taken in after being found connected to Mafia schemes to fix permits for wind farms constructed with local subsidies, and then sold off to foreign companies.

Essentially, millions of dollars in subsidies were collected to construct some 180-plus wind turbines on seven different farms in Sicily, all of which never worked.

lemur photo

One consequence of all the illegal logging in Madagascar is that there is decreasing habitat for many of the island's unique species. Lemur photo: Maurits & Marjol via flickr.
Madagascar Government Complicity in Illegal Logging
Meanwhile in Madagascar, The Guardian reports that armed gangs tied to a burgeoning 'timber mafia' are continuing to take advantage of the political situation there to "pillage rosewood and ebony from supposedly protected forests."

That adds up to an estimated $100 million in hardwood taken this year, apparently with government complicity (a 40% export tax is charged on the wood). Most of the wood is destined to be turned into furniture in China.

To broaden things out a bit, other eco-gangster news:
UN Forest Protection Scheme Open for Organized Crime Abuse
Illegal Ivory Trade on the Rise as Organized Crime Syndicates in Africa, Asia Grow in Strength
Toxic Waste Ship Sunk by Mafia Found in Italy - At Least 32 More Suspected
Killing Rare Animals Funds Terror

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