A Sicilian windfarm businessman, known as the “king of wind”, has been sentenced to nine years in prison for bankrolling the No 1 mafia fugitive, Matteo Messina Denaro.
Vito Nicastri, a former electrician from Alcamo in the province of Trapani, was one of the key funders of Denaro’s long spell on the run, a judge in Palermo ruled on Tuesday.
In 2013, Nicastri, who was under house arrest, lost his companies, property, cars and boats after anti-mafia investigators ordered the definitive confiscation of his assets worth €1.3bn (£1.1bn).
Among the assets were 43 companies, 98 properties, 66 bank accounts, credit cards, investment funds, cars and boats. Most were located in Sicily and Calabria.
Investigators said Nicastri, who made his name as an alternative energy entrepreneur, had invested money made from criminal activities and had “high-level” contacts in the mafia and “close ties to Matteo Messina Denaro”.
According to prosecutors, Nicastri allegedly acted as a middleman between local bosses and corrupt politicians, securing all the permits required to build and deliver hundreds of windfarm turbines to Spanish, Danish and Maltese operators, with profits finding their way back to Denaro.
Described as “the last Mohican of the old mafia”, Denaro is one of the world’s most wanted fugitives, who has been in hiding since 1993. He was once considered a candidate to be the Sicilian mafia’s boss of bosses after the deaths of Bernardo Provenzano in 2016 and Salvatore Riina in 2017.
Denaro, 57, who infamously claimed: “I filled a cemetery all by myself”, has apparently kept up his luxurious lifestyle, thanks to his several bankrollers who, according to prosecutors, include politicians and businessmen. Investigators have long claimed that the boss, wanted for more than 50 murders, is being shielded by powerful Freemasons in Trapani.
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