Sigrún Davíðsdóttir, one of Iceland’s best investigative reporters [she blogs in English here] recently broadcast a fascinating report on increased mafia investments in the energy sector, on current affairs radio programme Spegillinn, which airs on RÚV, weekdays at 18.30.
Sigrún bases her information on a report by Europol on the mafia’s involvement in the energy sector. It is well known that organized crime syndicates are attracted to public infrastructure fields like construction or waste removal, due to the interplay of public and private money. The mafia bribes public officials with overt cash bribes or expensive gifts, and in turn receives the lucrative contracts. Sometimes there may even be public grants involved.
Sigrún’s report lists several reasons why organized crime groups the world over are particularly attracted to the energy sector. Meanwhile, the global risk consulting company Kroll Inc. [which advised the Glitnir resolution committee in its legal proceedings against Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson et al], has pointed out several cases where the mafia has managed to involve itself in the wind generator sector in Italy, France and Spain.
Of course there is a message there for Iceland:
The knowledge that organized crime syndicates are attracted to the energy sector is of particular interest to Icelanders. The world is obviously crying out for energy, and Iceland has an abundance of energy, which moreover is eco-friendly — even better, and even more valuable. There has been a remarkable tendency in the public sector [in Iceland] to let some kind of “feeling” govern decision making, as opposed to hard facts and knowledge. Public officials need to have a complete and comprehensive knowledge of who their collaborators are. This is fairly simple when it comes to Icelandic parties, but more complex when it comes to foreign parties.
When foreign parties come to Iceland looking for investments in collaboration with the public sector it should a natural rule to contact recognized and objective consulting companies for information. It should not be considered sufficient for the Icelandic collaborators of these foreign parties to say that these are “great guys”.
Food for thought, particularly in light of the Magma Energy fiasco.