Today’s Mafia: Prostitution, gambling and…wind power

In response to last week’s huge Mafia bust in New York City, Slate explains how the mob makes its money in 2011:

Sure, the Mafia still traffics heroin, extorts businesses, and kills people. But today’s gangster—like any good venture capitalist—has adapted to the times. It’s not that the Mob is necessarily branching into new industries. It’s just that they’ve pushed age-old breadwinners—prostitution, gambling, and money laundering—to new levels (or depths) in order to compete in an increasingly globalized economy.

The sex trafficking and gambling is done over the internet these days.  In Europe, meanwhile, the mob has a piece of the growing wind-power industry:

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the Mafia has begun stealing millions from the EU through a sure-fire scheme—wind energy. Enticed by government underwriting of renewable energies—Brussels ordered all 27 EU nations to use one-fifth renewable energy by 2020—the Mob has focused on its own backyard. (Italian wind power sells at Europe’s highest rate, a guaranteed 300 euros per megawat-hour.*) In 2008’s Operation “Eolo”—named after the Greek god of winds Aeolus—eight alleged Mafiosi in the Sicilian coastal town of Mazara del Vallo were charged with bribing officials with luxury cars for a piece of the wind energy revenue. Police wiretaps recorded one man saying, “Not one turbine blade will be built in Mazara unless I agree to it.”

Related: the Village Voice has compiled the best nicknames of the mobsters arrested last week.  (“Vinny Carwash” should have been number one.)

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