Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Alleged mobster Vito Rizzuto runs a loan-sharking operation at the Montreal casino, ordered the killing of a lawyer who had ripped him off and is considered the head of the Mafia in Canada, according to a police report filed with a Montreal court.The report was prepared for federal lawyers in their successful bid last month to deny bail to the 58-year-old Montrealer, who is fighting extradition to the United States, where prosecutors allege he was involved in the 1981 slayings of three renegade Mafia captains in Brooklyn.

The police report was not tabled at the public court hearing because Mr. Rizzuto's lawyers agreed instead to a shorter statement of admissions, but it was considered by Mr. Justice François Doyon in deciding the bail request. None of the allegations in the police report have been proved in court.

The police filing portrays Mr. Rizzuto as a man who does not own an automobile or hold a credit card and whose only declared income is as a shareholder of a construction firm with modest revenue -- yet he has been seen driving a Ferrari, a Lincoln and a Porsche and travels to St. Kitts or the Bahamas. The report also lists more than 50 men who have been seen with Mr. Rizzuto, men who have criminal records or have been assassinated -- or both.

Story continues below advertisement

At the bail hearing, Mr. Rizzuto's lawyer, Pierre Morneau, said his client's only sin is that "he keeps bad company." Mr. Morneau also referred to the police report and said it portrayed Mr. Rizzuto as guilty by association.

The lawyer noted that Mr. Rizzuto's last criminal conviction was when he was in his 20s involving a 1972 arson case.

The report was prepared by Constable Nicodemo Milano of the Montreal police's organized-crime squad. In it, he said he went undercover last year at the Montreal casino to expose loan sharks. The officer said he posed as a gambler and was introduced to a Rizzuto associate, Giuseppe Triassi, who lent money at a 10-per-cent interest rate every three days -- equal to a 160-per-cent monthly rate. The officer said Mr. Triassi told him that "it was [Mr. Rizzuto]who set him up at the casino."

The report also reveals that police were told by a turncoat mobster, Oreste Pagano, that Mr. Rizzuto is a "man of honour" and the top Mafia leader in Canada. Mr. Pagano told police that in the mid-1990s he shipped 100 kilograms of cocaine to Canada, part of which was meant for Mr. Rizzuto.

According to the document, Mr. Pagano said "Rizzuto asked him to assassinate a lawyer in Venezuela who had stolen $500,000 from him." Mr. Pagano said he didn't carry out the order.

The police report says Mr. Rizzuto's name came up in a 1991 investigation into the smuggling of 50 tonnes of Lebanese hashish. He was heard on wiretaps but not charged.

The report also says that Mr. Rizzuto was a co-conspirator in a 2001 cocaine-smuggling plot. Three men, including lawyer José Guédé, were charged but Mr. Rizzuto was not.

Story continues below advertisement

(Mr. Rizzuto has been charged but not convicted in two other trafficking matters. A 1987 case about shipping 16 tonnes of hashish to Newfoundland was dropped because of illegal wiretaps and he was acquitted in a 1988 plot to smuggle 32 tonnes of hashish to Sept-Iles, Que.)

The court documents also include a 1994 request for assistance by Swiss officials probing whether Mr. Rizzuto, his mother Libertina, and their acquaintances laundered millions of dollars through banks in Lugano, Geneva and Lausanne.

"The owners of those accounts tried by every means possible to prevent their discovery (using third parties, regularly switching accounts) and disrupt the retracing of the money (deposits and withdrawals in cash)," the Swiss request says.

One series of transactions in the spring of 1988, for example, involved transfers from Montreal totalling $1.3-million (U.S.), $500,000 (Canadian) and $5.4-million Swiss francs (which was worth about $4.8-million at the time).

Mr. Rizzuto is wanted in the United States because prosecutors allege he was involved in the 1981 Brooklyn slaying of three renegade Mafia capos, Alphonse (Sonny Red) Indelicato, Philip (Phil Lucky) Giaccone and Dominick (Big Trin) Trinchera.

The year before their deaths, the latter two were among the guests at the Manhattan wedding of alleged mobster Giuseppe Bono, along with Mr. Rizzuto and various underworld figures.

Story continues below advertisement

The police report filed with the court lists various sightings of Mr. Rizzuto at boxing galas, weddings and golf tournaments, where he was seen speaking to men with criminal records.

Two childhood friends and a neighbour offered real-estate and businesses worth $3.5-million as security for Mr. Rizzuto's bail, which the court denied.

The Quebec Court of Appeal is to review the U.S. request for his extradition.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies