Green Mobsters

By Keith Kloor | September 15, 2010 10:20 am

If only the Sopranos stuck around long enough to cash in on this scheme with their Sicilian confederates. There’s even a character in the real story that is known as Lord of the Wind.

Paulie Walnuts and the rest of Tony’s gang would be feasting on that nickname.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: alternative energy, mafia
  • http://www.examiner.com/x-9111-SF-Environmental-Policy-Examiner Tom Fuller

    Keith, you’re missing the best part…
    ¬
    “Nicastri says he has worked on projects resulting in construction of wind farms for International Power (IP) of the UK, Falck Renewables, the London subsidiary of Falck Group based in Milan, IVPC and Veronagest, an Italian firm.”

    Leader of Falck Renewables? A certain Mr. Oxburgh, recently better known for exonerating the CRU crew. And Faclk Group, the guys that hired Oxburgh, have been investigated before for mafia ties to renewables…

    http://www.enviro-solutions.com/dailynews/050509-sicily-wind-power.htm

  • http://letsget.small.org PDA

    Really Tom? Guilt by association? Why didn’t you mention he fact that “nobody at Falck, and especially not Lord Oxburgh, has been implicated in this sorry mess.” Why don’t you at least post your source for the allegation that Gruppo Falck “have been investigated before?”
    ¬
    Oh, right. It’s a dead link, to the blog of an Italian nephrologist.

  • Lazar

    “Guilt by association?”
    ¬
    Oh yeah. Whatever works. Report what’s provocative and encourage a lawyerly debate between two ‘sides’ over an issue then report on the ensuing unenlightened, messy and stupid conflict for desserts. Climategate.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-9111-SF-Environmental-Policy-Examiner Tom Fuller

    Gruppo Falck has been the target of anti-Mafia investigations on several occasions, mostly in regards to waste treatment plants in Siciliy and Reggio Calabria. I’ve reported on it before at Examiner.com.
    ¬
    Falck Renewables has done business with Nicastri, and 18 people were arrested at one of their windfarms.
    ¬
    This is not new. The story has been around for months.
    ¬
    Get with it, kids.

  • Lazar

    So, ‘they were investigated’. And still no links. And still no explanation as to the relevance of Oxburgh and the CRU investigation. As PDA said, guilt by association. More rigor please. Esp. if you intend to report science.

  • harold

    IMO¬† the ‘guilt by association’¬† argument is used by European Mainstream Media to NOT print newsworthy stories.
    This ‘biggest mob haul ever’ has not had any coverage here. although there is an interest in the general Italian mafia crackdown.¬† Large scale money laundering opportunities with virgin companies and juicy subsidies do not happen often. As the¬† magistrate Francesco Messineo said:¬† “It’s no surprise that the Sicilian Mafia was infiltrating (in) profitable areas like wind and solar energy”
    A similar case of European MSM NOT¬† reporting¬† a clearly newsworthy story (about emission trading and tax fraud):¬† a Europol press release (issued¬† at the start of the Copenhagen Summit…) failed to reach the papers.
    http://www.europol.europa.eu/index.asp?page=news&news=pr091209.htm
    Maybe the term ‘Green Mobsters’ could be used for newspapers who do not publish news for what are clearly political reasons?
    ¬
     

  • http://letsget.small.org PDA

    Jesus, Tom, I know you “reported [blogged] on it before at Examiner.com”¬¶” didn’t you see the link I posted above in the sentence about how nobody at Falck had been implicated? Don’t you recognize your own words?

    Get with it, kid.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-9111-SF-Environmental-Policy-Examiner Tom Fuller

    As Harold points out, the story has moved further along. There’s a lot of dirt out there on Falck as a group. Falck Renewables has been building winfarms in areas dominated by the Mafia and a lot of Mafiosi have been arrested in and around Falck Renewable operations.

  • http://letsget.small.org PDA

    Hey Tom, would you care to be specific about the “dirt?” I read Italian and I haven’t seen anything in the news that specifically implicates Falck.
    ¬
    You’re following this closely, and I have not been. I’m going to give you the benefit of a doubt you seem unwilling to extend to others. I’d ask you to either put up any evidence of wrongdoing by Gruppo Falck – let alone by Flack Renewables or by Oxburgh specifically – or shut up about it.
    ¬
    Maybe there is something there. If so, I encourage you to back it up. Otherwise, frankly, I think¬†using Keith’s blog to spread innuendo¬†would be a pretty shitty thing for you to do.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-9111-SF-Environmental-Policy-Examiner Tom Fuller

    PDA, If Keith wants me to shut up he can tell me to do so. ¬†I think it’s a pretty shitty thing to do to defend the corruption that’s destroying the EU’s efforts to encourage alternative energy. I want alternative energy to become a major factor in our fuel mix. I support government assistance to it. If the mafia takes it over this will go down the tubes.
    ¬
    In Italy already, people are being encouraged to switch to solar power instead of wind because the mafia isn’t as closely tied to it. If you can read Italian then it will take you about 5 minutes to find reports of Falck Group’s long history of being involved in questionable contracts for waste treatment in Sicily.
    ¬
    I’m not making things up and I’m not using innuendo. Oxburgh is the chairman of a subsidiary company of a group that has been repeatedly investigated by the anti mafia commission in Italy. His company, Falck Renewables, has built wind farms in areas controlled by the mafia and mafiosi have been arrested while in the employ of his company.
     

    Qualche giorno fa √ɬ® stato pubblicato da Roberto Galullo e Giuseppe Oddo,su ¬†“ilsole24ore.com” , un interessante articolo a seguito dell’audizione della Commissione Antimafia di Roberto Scarpinato della DDA di Palermo, ve lo proponiamo qui di seguito:
    ” Cosa nostra punta al controllo dell’intero ciclo economico dello smaltimento dei rifiuti in Sicilia. Roberto Scarpinato, procuratore aggiunto della Direzione distrettuale antimafia di Palermo, non ha usato mezzi termini davanti alla Commissione parlamentare d’inchiesta sui rifiuti. Nell’audizione del 12 ottobre 2007 ha denunciato l’esistenza di un patto scellerato: una ¬ęcooperazione tra mafiosi, politici, professionisti e imprenditori anche non siciliani per aggiudicarsi il monopolio degli appalti della discarica di Bellolampo, per la progettazione e la realizzazione di un inceneritore¬Ľ. Quello di Palermo-Bellolampo √ɬ® uno dei quattro termovalorizzatori che saranno realizzati nell’Isola. Gli altri sorgeranno ad Augusta, Casteltermini-Campofranco e Patern√ɬ≤.

    Gli attori di questo patto avrebbero ¬ęprogettato d’intervenire sull’intero piano regionale d’organizzazione dei servizi di smaltimento dei rifiuti urbani, per plasmarlo secondo i propri interessi¬Ľ. Progetti e piani, secondo Scarpinato sono stati ¬ęaccettati a scatola chiusa dagli enti pubblici e fatti propri¬Ľ. Il riferimento √ɬ® al piano per il ciclo integrato dei rifiuti che fu messo a punto dall’allora presidente della Regione Sicilia, Tot√ɬ≤ Cuffaro, in veste di commissario straordinario (del Governo Nazionale – ndr) per l’emergenza.
    Un altro segnale dell’interesse di Cosa nostra viene dalle dichiarazioni di Maurizio Di Gati, il boss dell’Agrigentino oggi collaboratore di giustizia. Di Gati ha parlato delle estorsioni e delle minacce della mafia contro il gruppo Catanzaro per la gestione della discarica di Siculiana. Ma ha anche riferito la confidenza di un altro boss, Leo Sutera, secondo il quale sarebbe stato ¬ęnecessario¬Ľ votare Cuffaro alle regionali del 2001 per ¬ęavere un presidente della Regione a disposizione¬Ľ per la discarica di Aragona e l’inceneritore di Casteltermini-Campofranco. Come faceva Di Gati a sapere gi√ɬ† nel 2001, prima che fosse indetta la gara, che a Casteltermini-Campofranco avrebbe dovuto sorgere un impianto del genere? La vicenda rientra nel processo “talpe in Procura”¬Ě che vede Cuffaro imputato per favoreggiamento aggravato a Cosa Nostra.
    Non √ɬ® pi√ɬĻ solo al “pizzo”¬Ě che puntano i mafiosi, ma all’intero business: raccolta, trasporto, discarica, incenerimento. La relazione finale della citata Commissione parlamentare, approvata il 27 febbraio 2008, parla chiaro a questo proposito: ¬ęVi √ɬ® da parte di Cosa nostra l’assunzione in proprio dell’attivit√ɬ† d’impresa, senza, peraltro, l’assunzione del connesso rischio potendo contare sulle tecniche di dissuasione proprie dell’affermazione mafiosa. Il dato relativo all’aumento dei sequestri di imprese specializzate per infiltrazione mafiosa √ɬ® indicativo¬Ľ.
    Le cosche stanno cercando di aggredire anche i settori a monte dell’incenerimento. Per la Corte dei conti siciliana si corre il rischio che queste attivit√ɬ† vengano ¬ędelegate¬Ľ dalle imprese aggiudicatarie ¬ęa soggetti terzi, fuori dal controllo pubblico e, quindi, ancora pi√ɬĻ esposti alle pressioni delle ecomafie¬Ľ. √ÉňÜ in questo senso indicativo il passaggio di molte imprese siciliane di movimento terra (campo tipico d’interesse mafioso) all’Albo dei trasportatori di rifiuti: fenomeno gi√ɬ† segnalato dalla stessa Commissione bicamerale nel 2005.
    D’altro canto, l’intero affare √ɬ® stimato intorno ai 6 miliardi nei prossimi venti anni: 1,2 destinati ai quattro termovalorizzatori e ai 34 impianti di raccolta e smistamento e una previsione di spesa di 210 milioni l’anno da parte degli Ato (gli Ambiti territoriali ottimali) per l’acquisto di tutti i servizi. Aggiungiamo a questi numeri 392 milioni di fondi europei provenienti da Agenda 2000 per il finanziamento delle opere infrastrutturali per la raccolta differenziata. Stiamo parlando del maggiore afflusso di denaro pubblico in Sicilia degli ultimi vent’anni.
    Pesano poi come macigni le considerazioni della stessa Corte dei conti nella relazione dell’aprile 2007. La magistratura contabile siciliana sostiene che le imprese aggiudicatarie delle gare che erano state indette nel 2002, dall’allora commissario Cuffaro, per la costruzione dei quattro termovalorizzatori, erano sostanzialmente a conoscenza dei bandi prima ancora che fossero pubblicati e alcune addirittura gi√ɬ† in possesso di impianti e studi di fattibilit√ɬ†. La Corte denuncia in sostanza l’esistenza di un tavolo di spartizione tra politici e imprese cui era stata invitata persino l’Altecoen ( gi√ɬ† socio di Sicil Power per l’impiano di Patern√ɬ≤ -ndr), un’azienda ¬ęinfiltrata dalla criminalit√ɬ† mafiosa¬Ľ, si legge nella relazione, facente capo all’imprenditore Francesco Gulino ( vicino ai D.S. ). Questa circostanza, scrivono i giudici contabili, ¬ęnon poteva essere ignorata da Cuffaro dal momento che la stessa impresa era coinvolta nell’esperienza sulla raccolta dei rifiuti nel Comune di Messina¬Ľ. Altecoen, promotrice diMessinambiente “‚Äú societ√ɬ† tuttora attiva, nonostante le inchieste ne abbiano prospettato il controllo diretto da parte della mafia “‚Äú era entrata nella gestione dei rifiuti nella citt√ɬ† dello Stretto con l’aiuto del boss catanese Nitto Santapaola e di altri elementi di spicco della mafia. E figurava in due dei quattro raggruppamenti d’imprese ai quali sono state aggiudicate le gare per i temovalorizzatori (gare poi annullate dall’Unione Europea, che dovranno essere bandite per la seconda volta).
    La difesa di Cuffaro √ɬ® stata che Altecoen √ɬ® poi uscita dai due raggruppamenti, tra cui quello per l’impianto palermitano di Bellolampo ( era presente anche in quelo di Patern√ɬ≤ come socio di Sicil Power S.p.A.), cedendo le proprie quote agli altri soci. Ma, come rileva la Corte, la cessione √ɬ® stata un affare per Altecoen perch√ɬ© l’aggiudicazione delle gare aveva nel frattempo aumentato il valore delle azioni cedute. La societ√ɬ† di Gulino ha in sostanza incassato svariati milioni senza aver speso un centesimo. ¬ęE non risulta che gli altri soci del raggruppamento aggiudicatario gli abbiano fatto azione di responsabilit√ɬ†¬Ľ, dichiara Domenico Fontana, presidente di Legambiente Sicilia.
    “¬¶”¬¶”¬¶”¬¶”¬¶”¬¶”¬¶”¬¶”¬¶”¬¶.(OMISSIS)”¬¶”¬¶”¬¶”¬¶”¬¶”¬¶”¬¶”¬¶”¬¶”¬¶”¬¶
    A ulteriore conferma dell’esistenza di un tavolo parallelo di spartizione degli affari tra politici e imprese, la Corte dei conti indica ¬ęla discutibile opzione d’attribuire agli operatori privati la facolt√ɬ† di scegliere i siti dove ubicare i vari impianti¬Ľ di incenerimento. La Regione ha cos√ɬ¨ rinunciato a una funzione pubblica primaria: la scelta delle aree pi√ɬĻ adatte, dal punto di vista economico, sociale e ambientale, a ospitare gli impianti. Per di pi√ɬĻ √ɬ® emerso che nessuno dei raggruppamenti aggiudicatari aveva la disponibilit√ɬ† fisica delle aree (secondo quanto previsto nel bando) al momento della presentazione delle offerte. Si √ɬ® arrivati all’assurdo che la societ√ɬ† Platani Energia e Ambiente (anch’essa del gruppo Falck), aggiudicataria dell’inceneritore di Casteltermini-Campofranco, ha ottenuto solo il 7 maggio 2007 la “sdemanializzazione”¬Ě dei terreni su cui dovr√ɬ† sorgere l’impianto e il loro passaggio dal demanio al patrimonio dello Stato. L’aggiudicazione della gara risale invece all’agosto 2002 e il giudizio di compatibilit√ɬ† ambientale, firmato da Cuffaro, all’aprile 2005 nonostante l’opposizione del dirigente regionale responsabile, Gioacchino Genchi, rimosso dal servizio e tuttora in attesa di essere reintegrato.
    Un Governo regionale che volesse smantellare questo tavolo affaristico-mafioso dovrebbe cambiare di sana pianta l’approccio politico alla gestione dei rifiuti, e la pubblicazione dei nuovi bandi prevista entro fine mese potrebbe dargliene l’opportunit√ɬ†. Anche il Governo nazionale potrebbe fare la sua parte non reintroducendo i contributi statali “Cip 6″¬≥ che consentirebbero alle societ√ɬ† di gestione dei termovalorizzatori di vendere elettricit√ɬ† alla rete pubblica di trasporto dell’energia a prezzi incentivati. Il che porterebbe il contribuente a pagare due volte: la prima con la tassa sui rifiuti e la seconda con gli aggravi in bolletta previsti nella normativa Cip 6. Saranno il presidente della Regione Siciliana, Raffaele Lombardo, e il capo del Governo, Silvio Berlusconi, a scrivere il finale di questa storia. ”

  • http://letsget.small.org PDA

    That’s a blog post from someone going by the name ADOMEX, expressing an opinion”¬¶ and even this doesn’t offer any evidence of collusion between Gruppo Falck and the mafia.
    ¬
    Again, if you have real evidence, not allegations in random blog posts, I encourage you to post them. “Put up or shut up” is a pretty common idiom in the English language: I have neither the power nor the desire to shut you up. Calling you out on bullshit, that I will do.
    ¬
    Prove me wrong. I’m genuinely asking.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-9111-SF-Environmental-Policy-Examiner Tom Fuller

    PDA, I don’t have time today. As you communicate some urgency on this and you say you read Italian, why don’t you do some searching yourself? The Financial Times had an article on the subject, Vito Nicastri is known as The Lord of the Wind, look around and check back. I’ve seen all these articles, but don’t have time to chase them down.
    Search string: Gruppo Falck anti-mafia
    They have a lot of subsidiary companies, detailed in table form on the Falck Group website, and more than one of them has some stuff going on.

  • http://letsget.small.org PDA

    It’s not a question of urgency, it’s a matter of backing up what are some fairly serious allegations. Pushing it back on me is an incredibly lame and transparent defense. Either you have evidence or you are just shooting from the hip. It’s one or the other.
    ¬
    You shouldn’t need “time,” if you did research before you posted about this subject. If you don’t have any evidence, please acknowledge that.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-9111-SF-Environmental-Policy-Examiner Tom Fuller

    Later, then.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-9111-SF-Environmental-Policy-Examiner Tom Fuller

    Prelude:
    Financial Times: “Italian finance police, mounting an operation code named “Gone with the wind”¬Ě, on Wednesday said they had arrested two of the country’s most prominent businessmen in the wind energy sector.

    Police said the charges related to fraud involved in obtaining public subsidies to construct wind farms. They are also investigating the sale of wind farms to foreign companies”¬¶
    “Gone with the wind”¬Ě, mounted by the finance ministry’s anti-fraud police, started in 2007 and began by blocking public subsidies worth √Ę‚Äö¬¨9.4m ($14m, ¬£8.4m) granted by the ministry for economic development. Last year police confiscated seven wind farms with 185 turbines in Sicily linked to IVPC.
    Anti-Mafia prosecutors in Sicily have launched a parallel investigation. The Financial Times was told in April that a large number of wind farms had been built with public subsidies but had never functioned.”
    Oreste Vigorito, head of the IVPC energy company and president of Italy’s National Association of Wind Energy, was arrested on Tuesday in Naples. Vito Nicastri, a Sicilian business associate, was arrested in Alcamo, Sicily.

    Two other men were arrested in Sicily and the Naples area, while 11 others were charged but not arrested.
     

    Anti-mafia prosecutors in Sicily also have launched a parallel investigation, reports the Financial Times.
    Local officials, Mafia crime gangs and entrepreneurs have been tied together in schemes for fixing permits for wind farms that were constructed with local subsidies, then sold to foreign firms, according to an earlier Financial Times article.

    Lord Oxburgh is chairman of Falck Renewables, a wind farm manufacturer that is a subsidiary of the troubled Falck Group in Milan, Italy. The projects that Falck Renewables build seem to follow a pattern:
    Their project in La Muela, Spain, was associated with the arrest of 18 people on organised crime issues. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/22/la-muela-renewables-spain-corruption]
    “Powerful wind turbines churned the air above La Muela last week but the stir in this small Aragonese town was caused by the arrest of the mayor and 18 other people on charges that reveal a new phenomenon in Spain: eco-corruption.”¬Ě
    And at Falck’s windfarm at Buddus√ɬ≤ “‚Äú Al√ɬ† dei Sardi: “Four people arrested [http://gruppodinterventogiuridico.blog.tiscali.it/2009/11/10/arresti_di__signori_del_vento___2018496-shtml/], seven wind farms and 12 companies under sequestration, and “that’s the outcome of the operation”¬Ě Gone With the Wind “for which the magistrate court of Avellino has issued arrest warrants for Oreste Vigorito, 62 years Naples lawyer, administrator and president of IVPC Benevento Calcio; Vito Nicastro, 52 years of Alcamo, Ferdinand Renzulli, 42 years of Avellino, and Vincent Dongarra, 46 years of Enna. Another 11 people were investigated in various capacities for accountability in organized fraud for receiving government grants for the construction of wind farms. Nine of the seized companies are based in Avellino, the other 3 in Sicily.”¬Ě
    As for Falck’s windfarm at Minervino Murge,”¬Ěthe Anti-Mafia prosecutor in Trapani gave life to operation “Aeolus”¬Ě, with 8 arrest warrants issued at the time of men linked to local clans, public administrators, municipal officials and entrepreneurs “for allowing the association called La Cosa Nostra mafia, and in particular the Mafia family Mazara del Vallo control of economic activities, permits, contracts and public services in the production of electricity through wind turbines and the exchange of vows with the political mafia. “Identification of persons and companies involved in the investigation Sicilian revealed disturbing links with the construction of wind farms in the territory of Puglia: Minervino Murge, Spinazzola and Poggiorsini municipalities in whose territories some companies have shown interest and in some cases initiated installations without the necessary concessions.”¬Ě
    As for their wind farm near Palermo, Petralia Sottana, what do “Puglia, Sicily, Mazara del Vallo-Minervino Murge have in common? Nothing but an interest in wind power. Companies interested in plant wind turbines in Apulia are committed to the same plant in Sicily.
    Italian and EU subsidies for the building of wind farms and the world’s highest guaranteed rates, √Ę‚Äö¬¨180 ($240, ¬£160) per kWh, for the electricity they produce have turned southern Italy into a highly attractive market exploited by organised crime.

    The parent group of Oxburgh’s Falck Renewables is the Falck Group of Milan. As with so many Italian businesses, it’s a complicated maze of cross-holdings and interlocked ownership that makes it almost impossible to decipher. However Falck’s sister company Actelios was the target of an anti-Mafia investigation.
    Nobody from Falck Renewables or its parent company has been arrested, although Achille Colombo, its former head, has resigned, and news reports of questionable dealings with a Sicilian incinerator project that was canceled have arisen. The deal, which was canceled and is still under investigation, was worth an estimated √Ę‚Äö¬¨4 billion. Falck Group is a Milan based company that has built wind-farms in Calabria and Sicily that have been part of an anti-Mafia investigation. Some of the wind-farms, including one near Corleone, were completed quite some time ago, but haven’t been connected to the grid. However, generous EU subsidies were forthcoming nonetheless.
    Falck’s sister company Platani Energia Ambiente was part of an anti-mafia investigation regarding a controversial land deal that lasted from 2002 to 2007 and involved the removal from office of the contract administrator, Gioacchino Genchi.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-9111-SF-Environmental-Policy-Examiner Tom Fuller

    Great. Post went missing. I don’t have time for this.
    Prelude:
    “The parent group of Oxburgh’s Falck Renewables is the Falck Group of Milan. As with so many Italian businesses, it’s a complicated maze of cross-holdings and interlocked ownership that makes it almost impossible to decipher. However Falck’s sister company Actelios was the target of an anti-Mafia investigation.

    Nobody from Falck Renewables or its parent company has been arrested, although Achille Colombo, its former head, has resigned, and news reports of questionable dealings with a Sicilian incinerator project that was canceled have arisen. The deal, which was canceled and is still under investigation, was worth an estimated √Ę‚Äö¬¨4 billion. Falck Group is a Milan based company that has built wind-farms in Calabria and Sicily that have been part of an anti-Mafia investigation. Some of the wind-farms, including one near Corleone, were completed quite some time ago, but haven’t been connected to the grid. However, generous EU subsidies were forthcoming nonetheless.
    Falck’s sister company Platani Energia Ambiente was part of an anti-mafia investigation regarding a controversial land deal that lasted from 2002 to 2007 and involved the removal from office of the contract administrator, Gioacchino Genchi.”

    Lord Oxburgh is chairman of Falck Renewables, a wind farm manufacturer that is a subsidiary of the troubled Falck Group in Milan, Italy. The projects that Falck Renewables build seem to follow a pattern:
    Their project in La Muela, Spain, was associated with the arrest of 18 people on organised crime issues. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/22/la-muela-renewables-spain-corruption]
    “Powerful wind turbines churned the air above La Muela last week but the stir in this small Aragonese town was caused by the arrest of the mayor and 18 other people on charges that reveal a new phenomenon in Spain: eco-corruption.”¬Ě
    And at Falck’s windfarm at Buddus√ɬ≤ “‚Äú Al√ɬ† dei Sardi: “Four people arrested [http://gruppodinterventogiuridico.blog.tiscali.it/2009/11/10/arresti_di__signori_del_vento___2018496-shtml/], seven wind farms and 12 companies under sequestration, and “that’s the outcome of the operation”¬Ě Gone With the Wind “for which the magistrate court of Avellino has issued arrest warrants for Oreste Vigorito, 62 years Naples lawyer, administrator and president of IVPC Benevento Calcio; Vito Nicastro, 52 years of Alcamo, Ferdinand Renzulli, 42 years of Avellino, and Vincent Dongarra, 46 years of Enna. Another 11 people were investigated in various capacities for accountability in organized fraud for receiving government grants for the construction of wind farms. Nine of the seized companies are based in Avellino, the other 3 in Sicily.”¬Ě
    As for Falck’s windfarm at Minervino Murge,”¬Ěthe Anti-Mafia prosecutor in Trapani gave life to operation “Aeolus”¬Ě, with 8 arrest warrants issued at the time of men linked to local clans, public administrators, municipal officials and entrepreneurs “for allowing the association called La Cosa Nostra mafia, and in particular the Mafia family Mazara del Vallo control of economic activities, permits, contracts and public services in the production of electricity through wind turbines and the exchange of vows with the political mafia. “Identification of persons and companies involved in the investigation Sicilian revealed disturbing links with the construction of wind farms in the territory of Puglia: Minervino Murge, Spinazzola and Poggiorsini municipalities in whose territories some companies have shown interest and in some cases initiated installations without the necessary concessions.”¬Ě
    As for their wind farm near Palermo, Petralia Sottana, what do “Puglia, Sicily, Mazara del Vallo-Minervino Murge have in common? Nothing but an interest in wind power. Companies interested in plant wind turbines in Apulia are committed to the same plant in Sicily.
    Italian and EU subsidies for the building of wind farms and the world’s highest guaranteed rates, √Ę‚Äö¬¨180 ($240, ¬£160) per kWh, for the electricity they produce have turned southern Italy into a highly attractive market exploited by organised crime.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-9111-SF-Environmental-Policy-Examiner Tom Fuller

    Keith are posts getting tied up these days? I have a lot of links in the comment I just tried to put up…

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-9111-SF-Environmental-Policy-Examiner Tom Fuller

    Lord Oxburgh is chairman of Falck Renewables, a wind farm manufacturer that is a subsidiary of the troubled Falck Group in Milan, Italy. The projects that Falck Renewables build seem to follow a pattern:
    Their project in La Muela, Spain, was associated with the arrest of 18 people on organised crime issues.
    “Powerful wind turbines churned the air above La Muela last week but the stir in this small Aragonese town was caused by the arrest of the mayor and 18 other people on charges that reveal a new phenomenon in Spain: eco-corruption.”¬Ě
    And at Falck’s windfarm at Buddus√ɬ≤ “‚Äú Al√ɬ† dei Sardi: “Four people arrested, seven wind farms and 12 companies under sequestration, and “that’s the outcome of the operation”¬Ě Gone With the Wind “for which the magistrate court of Avellino has issued arrest warrants for Oreste Vigorito, 62 years Naples lawyer, administrator and president of IVPC Benevento Calcio; Vito Nicastro, 52 years of Alcamo, Ferdinand Renzulli, 42 years of Avellino, and Vincent Dongarra, 46 years of Enna. Another 11 people were investigated in various capacities for accountability in organized fraud for receiving government grants for the construction of wind farms. Nine of the seized companies are based in Avellino, the other 3 in Sicily.”¬Ě

    As for Falck’s windfarm at Minervino Murge,”¬Ěthe Anti-Mafia prosecutor in Trapani gave life to operation “Aeolus”¬Ě, with 8 arrest warrants issued at the time of men linked to local clans, public administrators, municipal officials and entrepreneurs “for allowing the association called La Cosa Nostra mafia, and in particular the Mafia family Mazara del Vallo control of economic activities, permits, contracts and public services in the production of electricity through wind turbines and the exchange of vows with the political mafia. “Identification of persons and companies involved in the investigation Sicilian revealed disturbing links with the construction of wind farms in the territory of Puglia: Minervino Murge, Spinazzola and Poggiorsini municipalities in whose territories some companies have shown interest and in some cases initiated installations without the necessary concessions.”¬Ě
    As for their wind farm near Palermo, Petralia Sottana, what do “Puglia, Sicily, Mazara del Vallo-Minervino Murge have in common? Nothing but an interest in wind power. Companies interested in plant wind turbines in Apulia are committed to the same plant in Sicily.
    Italian and EU subsidies for the building of wind farms and the world’s highest guaranteed rates, √Ę‚Äö¬¨180 ($240, ¬£160) per kWh, for the electricity they produce have turned southern Italy into a highly attractive market exploited by organised crime.

    As story in 2009 by the Financial Times put it, “Multinationals are starting to find out something that is well known to Italian investors: that concealed beneath Europe’s most generous system of incentives “‚Äú supported by “green credits”¬Ě that industrial polluters have to purchase “‚Äú there exists a web of corruption and shady deals.
    Rossana Interlandi, recently appointed head of Sicily’s environment department, explains that project developers “‚Äú she calls them “speculators”¬Ě “‚Äú were also lured by the appeal of a law that obliges Italy’s national grid operator to pay wind farm owners even when they are not producing electricity.”¬Ě
    The number of Italian cities with a wind-farm nearby has doubled within a year, thanks to EU subsidies. It would be astonishing if the Mafia hadn’t gotten involved. The situation has deteriorated in Italy to the point that they are moving to residential solar to cut carbon dioxide emissions, in large part to minimize Mafia involvement.
    Wind energy has become big business and it’s growing in a hurry. Lots of shady people are getting involved, in no small part because of government subsidies for both construction and feed in tariffs for so-called “green electricity”¬Ě.
    The parent group of Oxburgh’s Falck Renewables is the Falck Group of Milan. As with so many Italian businesses, it’s a complicated maze of cross-holdings and interlocked ownership that makes it almost impossible to decipher. However Falck’s sister company Actelios was the target of an anti-Mafia investigation.
    Nobody from Falck Renewables or its parent company has been arrested, although Achille Colombo, its former head, has resigned, and news reports of questionable dealings with a Sicilian incinerator project that was canceled have arisen. The deal, which was canceled and is still under investigation, was worth an estimated √Ę‚Äö¬¨4 billion. Falck Group is a Milan based company that has built wind-farms in Calabria and Sicily that have been part of an anti-Mafia investigation. Some of the wind-farms, including one near Corleone, were completed quite some time ago, but haven’t been connected to the grid. However, generous EU subsidies were forthcoming nonetheless.
    Falck’s sister company Platani Energia Ambiente was part of an anti-mafia investigation regarding a controversial land deal that lasted from 2002 to 2007 and involved¬†¬†the removal from office of the contract administrator, Gioacchino Genchi.

    ¬
     

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Tom,

    All your posts are going through, although I see that your links aren’t.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-9111-SF-Environmental-Policy-Examiner Tom Fuller

    Hey,
    pda?

  • http://letsget.small.org PDA

    Tom, I’m really wondering if you don’t think I can read or if you can’t. I asked you – in words written in the English language – to post “any evidence of wrongdoing by Gruppo Falck.”
    ¬
    The only statement about Falck in all that copy-pasting and googletrans – other than “Lord Oxburgh is chairman of Falck Renewables” is “Nobody from Falck Renewables or its parent company has been arrested.” That doesn’t exactly make your case, does it?

    Again, I have no idea what happened wrt Gruppo Falck. At this point, though, ¬†I’m utterly transfixed by your flailing. I’m really curious to see how long you’re going to keep denying that all you have on Gruppo Falck is guilt by association – and thus, that all you have on Oxburgh is guilt by association with guilt by association – by posting more accusations of guilt by association.

    It’s absolutely fascinating to watch.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-9111-SF-Environmental-Policy-Examiner Tom Fuller

    Gruppo Falck has several subsidiaries being investigated by the anti mafia commission. They have also been linked themselves to cartel behaviour wrt waste to energy plants in Southern Italy. Falck Renewables has had mafia activity at a number of their windfarm sites.
    ¬
    I’m not flailing. It’s right there. The fact that nobody has been arrested yet is a peculiarity of Italian jurisprudence, which right now is handicapped by legislation put in by Silvio Berlusconi to protect him from the same anti mafia commission.
    I lived in Italy for seven years. I have friends who have family in the affected regions. You have to pay to play down there. And you know darn well who you’re paying and what you’re paying for.

  • http://letsget.small.org PDA

    Hang on, “several subsidiaries” are being investigated? So now it’s guilt by association with guilt by association with guilt by association? You have got to be kidding me.
    ¬
    So nobody from Gruppo Falck has been implicated in anything, nobody from Falck Renewables has been implicated in anything, Oxburgh has not been implicated in anything, and Actelios and Platani have been “investigated” but nothing more.
    ¬
    If you want to try and explain to me how this is anything other than guilt by association, I’m all ears.

  • harold

    It’s a bonanza. Anyone who can get their nose in the trough is trying to¬† – Peter Atherton, head utilities analyst at Britain’s Citi Investment Research

    http://www.energytribune.com//articles.cfm/5300/Mafia-Hits-EU-Wind-Subsidies- (h/t Junkscience)

    Here is a (purely hypothetical)
    way in which the relationship Gruppo Falck/maffia would be mutually benificial, the idea is stolen from the link.

    Bruno Falck has the technical expertise, they have not thoroughly checked the credentials of their business partners, but that is the job of the regulator.  Anyway, the nice suits and good manners made a good impression, and besides they speak fluent Italian and are very capable in handling the bureaucratic and political obstacles.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-9111-SF-Environmental-Policy-Examiner Tom Fuller

    Platani Energia Ambiente is owned by Falck Group, in the same way as Falck Renewables. So is Actelios. They have been investigated. So has Falck Group, but not for wind energy. For waste incinerators, a $4 billion project. Their CEO Achilles Colombo, resigned.
    Now Falck Renewables is involved in wind farm projects that never produce any power, brokered through Vito Nicastri, the Lord of the Wind, and people are getting arrested on the wind farms for underworld connections.
    ¬
    This is not guilt by assocation. This is being surrounded by shady business dealings and having PDA saying there is no taint.
    ¬
    It doesn’t mean Oxburgh is guilty. He could just be keeping his eyes wide shut.

  • http://letsget.small.org PDA

    This is not guilt by assocation. This is being surrounded by shady business dealings

    That is exactly what “guilt by association” means, Tom.

    I don’t know if there’s taint or no taint. Baron Oxburgh of Liverpool could be Michael Corleone for all I know. But you haven’t made that case. You haven’t shown that. You have shown that companies “have been investigated” (why don’t you talk about the results of those investigations, I wonder?) and that ” people are getting arrested on the wind farms.”

    Maybe you can explain to me what you think the term “guilt by association” means. If this isn’t an example of it, I have a hard time imagining what could be.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-9111-SF-Environmental-Policy-Examiner Tom Fuller

    The case I’m making is that the Falck Group is surrounded by shady dealings that keep getting investigated including Falck Renewables.
    It’s obvious, unless you’re blind or committed to holding an opposing view because it upsets your particular apple cart. But swearing at me and closing your eyes and chanting ‘guilt by association’ does not mean a thing.
    ¬
    I’m not accusing Oxburgh of anything. I’m saying there’s a prima facie case for a lot of further investigation.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-9111-SF-Environmental-Policy-Examiner Tom Fuller

    Okay: The mother ship, Falck Group, has been investigated and their CEO Achille Colombo resigned:
    Google Translation

    The Financial Police, coordinated by the prosecutor of Palermo, which opened an investigation into alleged mafia infiltration in the business of energy plants in Sicily, is performing searches in the premises of all joint ventures, consortia of companies and public agencies interested in construction of incinerators. The searches are under way in Milan, Rome, Palermo, Cagliari, Caltanissetta, Enna and Agrigento.
    Investigators have already found some anomalies in the huge cash around to ‘operation of incinerators and are now investigating to see not only the existence of penetration of the Mafia but also any instances of corruption and other irregularities.
    Were seized documents relating to a series of invitations to tender issued for the construction of incinerators in Sicily. Under the magnifying glass of yellow flames rose all the companies belonging to the four Ati awarded the race in 2007 was annulled by the ECJ for lack of advertising. Searched, among others, the¬†Altacoen, Enna company, accepted the invitation even if no certificate mafia,¬†Falck, who headed three of the four groups of firm awarded the contract, the¬†Daneco Management Systems and the contracting entity: the ‘¬†Arra, the Regional Agency and Waste Water.
    he Mafia has slipped into a system that would allow [...] a deal that would have earned, some say five, some say seven billion euros and an annual pension of hundreds of million for the next 20-30 years “, had reported a month ago Ars Lombardo speaking of his legal case (LAWS).
    Among the companies raided was Falck, who headed three of the four groups of firm awarded the contract.

    Falck Renewables did business with Vito Nicastri:
    ” The seizure of a record 1.5 billion euros from a Sicilian businessman known as “Lord of the Wind” has put the spotlight on Mafia money-laundering through renewable energy ventures.

    “The Mafia use clean energy to invest dirty money,” Sicilian journalist Lirio Abbate told AFP after police confiscated the assets from businessman Vito Nicastri on Tuesday.”
    “”Nicastri says he has worked on projects resulting in construction of wind farms for International Power (IP) of the UK, Falck Renewables, the London subsidiary of Falck Group based in Milan, IVPC and Veronagest, an Italian firm.”¬Ě

    That’s not making anything up.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-9111-SF-Environmental-Policy-Examiner Tom Fuller

    Now. Falck’s subsidiaries are engaged in the same kind of shady dealings. Palermo Energia Ambiente, Actelios, Ecosesto and Elettroambiente, Tifeo Energia Ambiente (Typhon) all investigated by the antimafia.
    Google Translation: “To continue on board Emit the old Ercole Marelli built in the galaxy of Pisante. With √É¬Ę √Ę‚Äö¬¨ √Ö‚Äúmission√É¬Ę √Ę‚Äö¬¨? precise, the whole direction – once again – Sicily. √É‚Äö “Emit and ‘one of the bridgeheads of Fineco Affairs in Sicily – said Daniele De Joannon, editor of the weekly Messina investigation hundred and nine, at the forefront in denouncing the connection between policies on, the mafia and businesses – through a series of Company ‘, as Sicily Waters Spa, Spa Idrosicilia, Palermo Energia Ambiente SpA. Moreover, Emit back in various forms in the files of inquiry Messinambiente through other abbreviations: Techno Waste Treatment and connected Comes, Energy from Waste Treatment, held together with Techint spa and spa Falck.

    “- Ing. Mark Codognola, CEO of Solar Actelios SpA (a subsidiary of Falck SpA Actelios and listed), providing some technical details said that the plant Sugherotorto from 3.28 MV – to be completed by the end 2010 – will produce quantities of clean electricity that can meet the needs of a country with a population of about eight thousand inhabitants;

    - Major equipment of this type and others that may be made a condition of the landscape, they have reverberations on the economic and employment and can often trigger complex changes in the host territory;
    He demands to know

    - 1) why the city in its various aspects and the City Council were held for several months inexplicably unaware of these important issues and choices involving large settlements technological relevance and consistency in the territory of Victoria and also considerable economic investment even by a public company listed on the Stock Exchange (Actelios of Falck);
    - 2) why the municipal regulation for the installation of alternative energy systems referred to by the Mayor and publicly that hardly anyone knows City was approved by the Town Council and was not made known to the City Council, a body sovereign and deputy to act on the regulations;
    - 3) why the topic of two PV systems Contrada Sugherotorto pitchfork and was never put on the agenda of the City Look for the Environment, a consultative and proactive on environmental and energy policies of the City of Victoria;
    -¬†On what date he was appointed the ‘Ing. Franco Poidomani consultant or adviser to the Mayor for certain projects such as the GM and possibly issues has been invested (alternative energy?)”



    There remains the question of why it was not interested but the Public Prosecutor at the Court of Auditors.
    We see in detail what the companies, work and the amounts under consideration of the Prosecutor’s Office:
    41.691 euro per servizi realizzati dalla Ambiente 3000 di Recanati;

    It is therefore of companies and people involved in various capacities in a cycle of waste management – for all 80 years and most of the 90 – had taken on the characteristics of a field with no rules, fully inserted into the mechanism later became known as “Tangentopoli. Not only it can be said for many of the companies mentioned (especially Sir or companies belonging to Horace Duvia) that they act on a double track, that of legality and that of the deviant.
    Having read the document, then emerges sharply different business groups that are both competitors and partners, with obvious negative repercussions on the system and the transparency of procurement.
    It is to observe the role of some companies that appear as intersections of different interests: Slia Spa, Spra-Slia, the ETR, the spa and services sustain the GSA. In Slia Spa (majority owned by Cerroni group) on 11, 1 percent of the share capital is held by Francis Rando, covering – among others – the Chair of the Board of Ines Sud Srl, a subsidiary of Sir. Regarding the Slia-Spra, it is a cooperative between the company and Slia Spra and then between the group and the group Cerroni Colucci-Pisante. In age, however, 90 percent of the share capital is owned by Falck and 10 percent from the group Colucci-Pisante. The capital of the GSA, however, is an equal split between Waste Italy and Ecosesto Spa company Falck. Finally, the services sustain spa company in the group Waste Italy, which covers from 27 November 1998, the adviser Manlio Cerroni.
    The last element to be highlighted – for its impact to a lack of transparency – is the traceability of the groups mentioned in many Swiss companies or Luxembourg. As seen from reading the document, in fact, the distribution of capital of these foreign companies is not known, and is therefore not possible to trace the real owners of the groups mentioned.

    Among the documents before you open the investigators would also report hearing the former governor Cuffaro and Director General of the MRA, split, before the parliamentary committee of inquiry into the waste cycle. The prosecutor of Palermo has decided to return to examine the whole issue, from contract managed by the arrival, which was flawed by various abnormalities, as noted by the EU itself, which had rejected the intent. Among the companies visited yesterday by the Guardia di Finanza is Actelios Milanese society, in a note that states: Actelios, along with parent Falck, the subsidiary Elettroambiente and Society Project, active in the realization of “three integrated management systems for using the residual fraction of municipal waste after separate collection produced in the towns of the Sicilian Region “shall have delivered to the Guardia di Finanza all documentation relating to participation in public procedures of August 9, 2002. Among the companies that were part of ATI was also Amia spa, the company environmental health of Palermo.

    Later conferences have been convened and approved the four service systems related to proposals made by the company Sicil Power, with planned incinerator in the town of Paternò society Typhon Energy Environment, with planned incinerator in the town of Augusta, society Palermo Energia Ambiente, with planned incinerator in the municipality of Palermo, and finally by the company Palatani Energy Environment, with planned incinerator in the ASI (Area Industrial Development) of Casteltermini.
    As to the allegations contained in the Court of Auditors relating to the possible conclusion of agreements undertaken independently of the information acquisition mafia and the presence of a company, among those gathered in the joint venture, awarded two of the four integrated systems , infiltrated by the mafia crime, the offices that represent the company Altecoen, in which, following an investigation by the District Anti-Mafia Department, was found the disturbing presence of Mafia infiltration, participated in the selection for the assignment of conventions for the use of municipal residual waste down the collection for the purpose of energy recovery, two ATI (joint ventures), which later formed the consortium companies named Sicil Power Scpa Typhon energy environment Scpa , which includes several other companies.
    In this regard the Deputy Commissioner has proceeded to ask the prefectures of Catania, Palermo and Enna, competent for the territory, the information is for mafia consortia, both for individual companies that constitute them.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-9111-SF-Environmental-Policy-Examiner Tom Fuller

    So, although arrests were made at Falck Renewable sites, although its parent company and all its sister companies have been targeted for anti mafia investigations, although the CEO of Falck resigned, although contracts were canceled because of fears of mafia corruption, although The Lord of the Wind, Vito Nicastri, who just had $1.5 billion of assets including 43 wind companies seized, and although Falck Renewables went to him to get their windfarms built, it’s an unseemly calumny and guilt by association to raise questions.
    ¬
    Shitty

  • http://letsget.small.org PDA

    nobody from Gruppo Falck has been implicated in anything – check
    nobody from Falck Renewables has been implicated in anything – check
    Oxburgh has not been implicated in anything – check
    Actelios and Platani have been “investigated”¬Ě but nothing more – check
    Thanks, Tom, for confirming all of my points. As a side note, I’d appreciate if you would post links to source documents rather than sprawling pastes of nearly-unreadable Google translations. I’m fluent in the language, and anyone else who’s still following this can certainly use Google Translate themselves. It’s understood that you’re reluctant to provide sources, because when you’ve posted untranslated text before, I’ve been able to ascertain that it’s from blogs, not news reports.
    ¬
    Again, I don’t know anything about what happened here. If you have any evidence that anyone at Gruppo Falck or Falck Renewables (as opposed to random people working on wind farms) is implicated in any crime, I invite you for the (third? fourth?) time to post it.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-9111-SF-Environmental-Policy-Examiner Tom Fuller

    None so blind as those who will not see. ¬†PDA, activists just store up trouble for the future when they just deny, deny, deny. You should be the first calling for robust inquiries into this, instead you think that when it’s raining mud, your pet dog will stay clean because you just gave him a bath.
    ¬
    You may understand the Italian language, but you obviously know nothing of its culture, its politics or the mafia. At all.

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Collide-a-Scape

Collide-a-Scape is a wide-ranging blog forum that explores issues at the nexus of science, culture and society.

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

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