U.S. prosecutors have indicted fourteen defendants including several high-ranking officials from FIFA for their alleged roles in a racketeering enterprise involving "$150 million in bribes and kickbacks spanning two decades in soccer's controversial governing body" as reported by ABC News: "U.S. officials said that one American FIFA official, Charles Blazer, has already pleaded guilty and reportedly wore an undercover wire to record conversations with fellow soccer officials."
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Over the years tort lawyers Weitz & Luxenberg paid millions to New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and now it's suspending ties with the disgraced politician who federal prosecutors accuse of taking bribes which were disguised as referral fees through the law firm by an apparently corrupt doctor who wanted state funds for asbestos research as reported by the New York Post:
"We were shocked to learn about the allegations against him of impropriety in the referral of cases to our firm. We have asked Mr. Silver to take a leave of absence until these allegations are resolved," said Perry Weitz, founder and president of Weitz & Luxenberg.
It's so sad when a law firm gets duped by a trusted colleague.
Remember class action kingpin Mel Weiss from Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP who was convicted on a racketeering charge for his role in a decades-long scheme in which serial plaintiffs were paid kickbacks out of the attorneys' fees for filing their shareholder lawsuits? Sanford Dumain said the law firm's remaining partners previously believed shyster Mel's earlier assurances of innocence, and now suffer "deep disappointment" over his "misconduct" as reported by Martha Neil for the ABA Journal. The firm itself avoided prosecution after paying a $75 million fine and employing a compliance monitor for two years, and in regard to that settlement Mr. Dumain said "we can now say to courts and clients that we are not a firm under indictment" as reported by Ashby Jones for The Wall Street Journal: "we needed an understanding from the government that no one currently at the firm had any knowledge of the wrongdoing." So what then was the need for a compliance monitor? Perhaps operating under the trust-but-verify principle.
Sheldon Silver's predecessor as Assembly Speaker and his longtime mentor was Saul Weprin. One of Saul's sons is Milberg partner Barry Weprin, and another is Queens politician David Weprin.
David Weprin now is an assemblyman but during his years on the City Council sponsored $700,000 in discretionary funds to the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty which was headed by Silver pal William Rapfogel. Last year Rapfogel pleaded guilty to stealing millions from the Met Council as then reported by Shayna Jacobs for the Daily News:
He and his cronies inflated insurance payments they claimed Met Council owed and pocketed the difference with the help of an insurance man, he admitted. Some of those funds were used to donate to politicians' campaigns to gain support for the charity, but there is no indication any of the public officials knew the money was tainted.
From 2004 through 2009 when he was a councilman Weprin's campaign committee "received eight checks totaling $4,950" from employees with the insurance provider but neither the politician nor those employees are accused of any wrongdoing as reported by the Daily News.
Meanwhile, one can only pity Judy Rapfogel who is the wife of convicted felon William Rapfogel and the chief of staff for indicted politician Sheldon Silver.
The Charbonneau Commission is investigating allegations that the Montreal Mafia and dirty politicians took kickbacks from government contracts to construction companies in a massive bid rigging scheme, and yesterday FTQ-Construction struck a defiant tone when the union's lawyer Robert Laurin testified as reported by the Montreal Gazette: "'organized crime has not infiltrated FTQ-Construction, and it does not control FTQ-Construction,' Laurin said in his closing remarks to the Charbonneau Commission." However, Laurin said union representatives occassionally may have to deal with some mobbed-up construction companies but "the union is not a police force" and "warned that a costly strike could occur if future proposed legislation targets FTQ-Construction too severely."
The National Assembly -- the legislative body for the Quebec province -- promptly passed a motion both calling for "the FTQ-Construction union to disassociate itself from the comments made by its lawyer during the Charbonneau commission," and reminding "that it is completely unacceptable for all organizations to do business with organized crime" as reported by Angelica Montgomery for CJAD.
Italian police have arrested 29 suspects from the Commisso and Aquino clans of the 'Ndrangheta or Calabrian Mafia for their alleged roles in various schemes including "skimming between 1.5 and 3 per cent off public works contracts and also forcing butchers to buy beef from Mafia-connected farms" as reported by Peter Edwards for The Star.
Among those arrested is Antonio Coluccio, an alleged member of the Commisso clan, who was a resident of Toronto, ON Canada until 2010 when authorities booted his sorry ass back to the old country:
Coluccio's two older brothers Giuseppe and Salvatore are already in prison in Italy on Mafia-related charges. They are both former GTA [Greater Toronto Area] residents. His father-in-law, Carmelo Bruzzese is in custody in the GTA fighting deportation to Italy after being accused of Mafia-related offenses.
In April 2014 Commisso clan associate Carmine Verducci who "was also tightly tied to the Gambino Mafia family of New York City, according to police" was gunned down in the parking lot of a Woodbridge cafe outside Toronto as then reported by Peter Edwards for The Star.
The Calabrian Mafia is suspected of backing a breakaway group from the Rizzuto family with Cosa Nostra or the Sicilian Mafia in Montreal, QB for control over the drug rackets in Canada and New York, and the turf war has resulted in dozens of murders over the last few years.
Earlier this year Italian and American police arrested dozens of suspected mobsters on both sides of the Atlantic for their alleged roles in a joint drug smuggling plot between the Gambino family and the Calabrian Mafia.