Montreal 'godfather' faces money-laundering charges in Italy

Italian officials issue an arrest warrant for Vito Rizzuto, the alleged 'godfather' of Montreal's Mafia, accusing him of money laundering.

Italian officials have issued an arrest warrant for Vito Rizzuto, the alleged "godfather" of Montreal's Mafia, accusing him of trying to invest laundered money in a project to build a bridge from Sicily to the mainland.

Rizzuto, who is in jail in Montreal, has already been ordered extradited to the United States to face charges stemming from the slayings of three U.S. mob captains in 1981.

Italy's anti-Mafia police said Friday that warrants have been issued for Rizzuto, 58, and four unidentified others in London, Paris and Montreal.

Col. Paolo La Forgia said the five men were trying to win a contract to build the bridge across the Strait of Messina – one of the biggest public works projects in the country's history.

La Forgia alleged they used a front company to submit a preliminary tender in October and have invested $6.4 million Cdn in the bid.

The 3,690-metre-long, suspension-type bridge, planned to open by 2011, is expected to cost about $7.3 billion Cdn.

Police arrested Rizzuto at his home in Montreal in January of 2004.

RCMP and Canadian court documents refer to Rizzuto as the "godfather" of the Montreal Mafia. Police say they consider him to be Canada's most influential member of the powerful Bonanno family of New York.