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Raynald Desjardins in undate photo. (Canadian Press)
Raynald Desjardins in undate photo. (Canadian Press)

QUEBEC

Reputed mafia boss must appear before inquiry, judge rules Add to ...

Quebec’s corruption inquiry is insisting that a suspected mafia boss must appear to testify.

France Charbonneau, who heads the provincial probe into organized-crime involvement in the construction industry, has rejected a bid by Raynald Desjardins to get out of appearing.

Judge Charbonneau said in her ruling on Thursday that Mr. Desjardins has information pertinent to the inquiry, noting he has links to a company tied to organized crime and a labour-union boss.

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Mr. Desjardins’s lawyer had argued that his client is already awaiting trial for the first-degree murder of a former boss with the Bonanno crime family.

Marc Labelle said it would be impossible for Mr. Desjardins to get an impartial jury if he appeared at the corruption inquiry.

Not since the mid-1970s, when mafia dons Vic Cotroni and Paolo Violi had to appear before the Commission d’enquête sur le crime organisé, has such a high-profile reputed mobster been compelled to appear before a public inquest in Quebec.

But in her ruling the inquiry chair said it is difficult to argue that his rights will be violated because no date has been set for his appearance at the probe.

News reports have described Mr. Desjardins as among the most senior figures in Canada’s Italian mafia and an instrumental player in the recent civil war in the underworld.

He was arrested and charged with killing a reported aspirant in the race to supplant the head of the Rizzuto family. More recently, Mr. Desjardins’s brother-in-law, Joe Di Maulo, was shot to death in his driveway.

 

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