Montreal's alleged 'Godfather' loses bid to block extradition

Vito Rizzuto, accused of being the "Godfather" of Montreal's Mafia, has struck out in his latest bid to overturn an order that would extradite him to face a criminal charge in the United States.

Vito Rizzuto, accused of being the "Godfather" of Montreal's Mafia, has lost his latest bid to overturn an extradition order that would send him to the United States to face a criminal charge.

The charge of conspiracy to commit murder relates to the 1981 slayings of three captains in New York's Bonanno crime family.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear Rizzuto's appeal of the extradition order, which was issued in December, 2004. As is customary when the top court denies leave to appeal, the judges gave no reasons for the decision.

It was not clear when Rizzuto – whom RCMP and court documents have referred to as the "Godfather" of the Montreal Mafia – would be sent south.

The appeal application denied on Thursday was one of two filed by Rizzulto's lawyers. It involved a jurisdictional question about the powers of the judge who said Rizzuto can be extradited.

The court has yet to deal with the second application, which relates to the way his case was handled by former justice minister Irwin Cotler, who issued the extradition order.

Rizzuto, a Sicilian-born Montrealer, was arrested at his home in January 2004 and has since been fighting extradition.

He was the only Canadian arrested among 28 people accused of taking part in the conspiracy.

Rizzuto faces 20 years in prison if convicted on the charge, which falls under U.S. racketeering laws.