Vito Rizzuto summoned to Quebec corruption inquiry
Reputed Mafia don will testify at the Charbonneau commission
Reputed Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto has been summoned to testify at Quebec's corruption inquiry.
Quebec Police served Rizzuto with a subpoena on Nov. 19 in Montreal.
Rizzuto is widely believed to be the head of the Sicilian Mafia in Canada and was once the most powerful figure in Montreal's underworld.
"He was met – I can confirm that," provincial police Sgt. Claude Denis told The Canadian Press. "But that's all I can say."
The sight of a prominent underworld figure answering questions on a live TV broadcast would only be the latest twist in an inquiry that has shocked Quebecers, and the country.
The corruption inquiry is looking into collusion in Quebec's construction industry.
Rizzuto named by witnesses
This is not the first time that Rizzuto's name has come up in the corruption inquiry. Once known as Montreal's Teflon Don, for his success at dodging the law, he has been described as charming and an entertaining travel companion by witnesses.
The inquiry has heard testimony about how construction executives colluded to decide ahead of time who would win the bidding on public contracts and at what price — and how they would pay a 2.5 per cent cut of the proceeds to the Rizzuto clan.
Former construction firm vice-president Lino Zambito testified that Rizzuto once mediated a conflict between himself and construction magnate Tony Accurso over a contract for Transport Québec.
RCMP surveillance videos played at the hearings showed executives handing over stacks of cash to Rizzuto's father, who has since been slain. Wiretaps caught everything from threats over unpaid debts to mundane chatter about a gift for a retiring businessman.
Nearly four decades ago members of the Cotroni-Violi family, whom the Rizzutos violently supplanted, were called as witnesses to the last Quebec inquiry into organized-crime corruption.
At the time, the witnesses were uncooperative.
"I don't refuse to testify," crime boss Paolo Violi told the 1974 inquiry, in an account described in a book about the Rizzutos, "The Sixth Family."
"I have a lot of respect for the court but I don't have anything to say," he said.
Violi was slapped with a one-year jail sentence for contempt of court.
Friends and family of reputed mob boss killed
Rizzuto flew back to Canada in October after serving an eight-year sentence in a U.S. prison for his role in the 1981 murders of three Mafia lieutenants in New York.
During his years behind bars, the Rizzuto family faced a violent putsch. Many of Rizzuto's friends and family disappeared or were killed, including his father and a son who were both gunned down.
Police now believe people loyal to Rizzuto may be behind several retaliatory acts since he was released.
With files from The Canadian Press