In Canada the federal government has launched an inquiry into the construction industry over allegations "of political cronyism and infiltration by organized crime" as reported by Sidhartha Banerjee for The Globe and Mail. The news is welcome to the public which long has clamored for such an investigation over the stubborn resistance from certain politicians. Mob expert and author Antonio Nicaso believes that the parameters of the investigation are too narrow: "He said what Canada needs to do is to conduct a broader study on how criminal organizations succeed in building ties and integrating themselves into society. 'We always focus on the violent aspect of organized crime but never pay attention to the so-called grey area – where criminals and white-collars and politicians and businessmen get together,' he said."
Canadian mob expert Antonio Nicaso and Italian mob prosecutor Nicola Gratteri collaborated to write the recently published of La Malapianta (The Bad Seed), and the two men claim that the international cocaine trafficking 'ndrangheta or Calabrian Mafia is laundering its dirty money through Canada and other wealthy first-world nations with impugnity as reported by Rob Lamberti for QMI Agency: "'In places like Canada, they stay in the shadows,' Nicaso says. 'Canada is a rich country and gives it an opportunity to invest the money, launder the money and that's what they're looking for. They're not looking for a place where they compete, or fight or become violent.'"
One of them was inducted into the Mafia while on the government payroll. A couple of others were so trusted by criminals that they were recruited to do murders. Meanwhile, in jail cells around Greater Toronto, others are waiting to chat with the newly arrested. They are all undercover police officers, who routinely pass themselves off as truckers, hitmen, drug dealers, gun traffickers, bankers, prisoners and crooked cops to ensnare real-life gangsters. "It's dangerous," said Antonio Nicaso, a Greater Toronto author who has written several books and lectured police agencies on organized crime. "Organized criminals may not be educated and they may not have gone to college, but they're smart," Nicaso said. Stresses on such undercover police officers are enormous, since they're leading double lives, he said. "Many of the most successful agents end up with divorces or with problems with the family."
Among the people alleged to be involved in an attempt to launder more than $600 million in drug money is Rizzuto, 61, the reputed head of the Montreal Mafia. He is currently serving a 10-year sentence in a Colorado penitentiary for participating in the 1981 murders of three men. His father, Nicolo Rizzuto, 83, is also among those wanted by Italian authorities. The elder Rizzuto is currently being held at the Montreal detention centre awaiting a possible trial on charges of extortion, bookmaking, drug smuggling and exportation. He was arrested in Project Colisee, a joint police investigation that resulted in the November 2006 roundup of more than 90 people in Quebec.
The investigation into the operation commenced in 2005, and authorities today have arrested or charged 19 individuals, executed 40 search warrants, and seized or froze more than $200 million in assets:
Police in Canada, France and Switzerland assisted in the police operation. Bankers, businessmen and stockbrokers were among those arrested. "We blocked a lot of bank accounts and money," an Italian police investigator told the National Post. "We have seized many companies and hundreds of millions of euros all around the world because we believe that behind these companies is Vito Rizzuto."
Toronto-based mob author Antonio Nicaso "said the latest investigation is further evidence of the international reach of the Rizzuto organization":
"The Italian police were able to identify the movement of money to invest the proceeds of narcotics businesses. This shows the transnational nature of its organization. It's a local organization with global ambition and global capability."
Defence lawyers presented financial statements that said he had assets of $471,000 but liabilities of $475,300 in debts owned to family members. "The court is not convinced that the information provided regarding his liabilities can be considered reliable," said the judge.