Taxing the Rich to Fund Cronyism

Yesterday, the Washington Post revealed that the Italian Mafia was found to have been deeply invested in Italy’s green-energy industry. Why? Because the profit potential created by generous government subsidies. You can’t make this stuff up:

Because it receives more sun and wind than any other part of Italy, Sicily became one of Europe’s most obvious hotbeds for renewable energies over the past decade. As the Italian government began offering billions of euros annually in subsidies for wind and solar development, the potential profitability of such projects also soared — a fact that did not go unnoticed by Sicily’s infamous crime families.

Roughly a third of the island’s 30 wind farms — along with several solar power plants — have been seized by authorities. Officials have frozen more than $2 billion in assets and arrested a dozen alleged crime bosses; corrupt local councilors and mafia-linked entrepreneurs. Italian prosecutors are now investigating suspected mafia involvement in renewable energy projects from Sardinia to Apulia.

“The Cosa Nostra is adapting, acquiring more advanced knowledge in new areas like renewable energy that have become more profitable because of government subsidies,” said Teresa Maria Principato, the deputy prosecutor in charge of Palermo’s Anti-Mafia Squad, whose headquarters here are emblazoned with the images of assassinated judges. “It is casting a shadow over our renewables industry.”

The Post adds that “the discoveries here also follow so-called ‘eco-corruption’ cases in Spain, where a number of companies stand accused of illegally tapping state aid.” The whole thing is here.

Read more at National Review Online. By Veronique de Rugy.

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