Japan mob-linked bank faces more punitive action

Japan's financial watchdog will order Mizuho, one of the country's biggest banks, to suspend part of its loan business as additional punishment for its links to organised crime, reports said Wednesday.
The order, expected to be issued by the Financial Services Agency (FSA) on Thursday, will stop Mizuho Bank from extending new loans through its affiliated credit company for one month, the Jiji and Kyodo news agencies said.
The agency will also issue business improvement orders to Mizuho's parent firm the Mizuho Financial Group, the reports said.
The group has been under fire since September when it was found to have processed some 230 loans worth about $2 million for the country's notorious yakuza crime syndicates, which are involved in activities ranging from prostitution and drugs to extortion and white-collar crime.
In late September the FSA ordered Mizuho Bank to improve operations after it was found to have taken "no substantial steps" to sever the Yakuza links for two years after they were discovered.
The FSA decided to take additional punitive action against the group for failing to prevent the bank from submitting a false report on the issue to the agency, Kyodo said.
Mizuho Bank had originally said its top management had been unaware of the Yakuza links. But it later admitted that its current and former presidents were in a position to know of the issue.
In late October the bank submitted a report compiled by a third-party panel probing the issue, which said it found no evidence of a cover-up of the scandal.
But the agency examined the claim in November through on-site inspections of Mizuho Bank and Mizuho Financial Group, the reports said.

Rizzuto funeral to draw friends, enemies

By Allison Lampert and Riley Sparks, THE GAZETTE

MONTREAL — Vito Rizzuto’s funeral visitation on Sunday will bring together an unlikely combination of friends, allies and lifelong enemies of the Montreal mob boss, who died on Monday.
“This funeral is going to have a lot more than mourners,” organized crime reporter Julian Sher said.
There will be the friends and family will show up at Vito Rizzuto’s visitation and funeral on Sunday, and there are the ones who will find a “different way” to pay their respects to the reputed Montreal mob boss.
Experts in organized crime said friends and family of the Rizzutos — some with connections to the Mafia, and others without — are likely to turn out for Sunday’s visitation bearing flowers, despite the expected phalanx of police and journalists.
Unlike Rizzuto’s father, Nicolo, and son Nick — both of whom were shot to death in 2010 — the 67-year-old don is said to have died of complications from lung cancer at Sacré-Coeur Hospital on Dec. 23.
“I think Vito Rizzuto can be expected to receive a substantial sendoff,” said Antonio Nicaso, an author and expert on organized crime and the Mafia.
“A lot of people will pay respect to the family, especially because he did not die in a violent way.”
Other friends of the Rizzutos — politicians and the businessmen with no public ties to the crime family — “will find a different way to express their condolences to the family” than by attending the funeral in the glare of the public eye, Nicaso said.
Police and Mafia associates will both likely be watching the funeral closely for signs of power shifts, Sher said.
In front of the police and TV cameras and alongside Rizzuto’s friends and family, Sher said he expected to see other attendees with less amicable connections to the don.
“Not everybody who is going to turn up at that funeral will have tears in their eyes,” he said.
In the months following Rizzuto’s return to Montreal after serving six years in prison for his involvement in a 1981 triple murder, many of those believed to have crossed the family were killed.
“Some people are going to be glad he’s in the ground,” Sher said.
“Some people are going to be relieved — because they were maybe scared they were next — and some people are going to see this as their chance to make their move,” he added.
Visitors this weekend and on Monday may include Calabrian Mafia associates from Toronto and Hamilton, Sher said.
Nicolo Rizzuto is believed to have been involved in the 1970s war between Sicilian and Calabrian mob factions, but his son had since formed alliances with some old Calabrian enemies, Sher said.
“There are always shifting alliances,” Sher said.
Still, the Rizzuto-led Sicilian dominance of the Montreal mob likely upset many of those Calabrian families, he said.
For those families, the uncertainty left after Rizzuto’s death may provide opportune time to reassert control, Sher said.
Rizzuto’s death has opened a spot at the helm of the Montreal mob at a time when the Charbonneau Commission’s revelations of corruption in the Quebec construction industry — including its system of collusion and payoffs to politicians — has proved more damaging to organized crime than traditional police investigations, Nicaso said.
With Rizzuto’s death fuelling speculation over his likely successor, Nicaso said he didn’t believe “such business” would be resolved at the funeral.
Nicaso said he could even see a “group of people” running organized crime in Montreal until a new leader is found.
“They need someone to retain that grip on Montreal,” Nicaso said.
“Nobody seems to see anyone with the same charisma and the same experience (as Vito Rizzuto),” he said.
If a strong leader does not emerge, Sher said regional bosses could take control of smaller pieces of territory.
“Somebody could take over Montreal, but what if some of the Toronto guys say: ‘No, we’re not going to pay you?’ ” he said.
If possible, mobsters will likely try to resolve the leadership question without violence, Sher said.
“It’s not good for their health, and it’s not good for the health of their profits,” he said.
With so many possible outcomes, Sher said he did not expect a quick resolution.
“It’s not like the head coach of the Canadiens, where if somebody is fired they have to get somebody in right away.
“We could go a long time before somebody emerges with clear power,” he said.
The visitation on Sunday will be held at the Loreto Funeral Complex in St-Leonard, which is owned by the Rizzuto family.
Colegro “Charlie” Renda — the son of Paolo Renda and Vito Rizzuto’s sister, Maria Rizzuto Renda — is the president and main shareholder of the company that owns the funeral home.
The funeral home was firebombed in 2011 by three men, one of whom police allege was connected to a large street gang.
On Monday, the service will take place at Église Notre-Dâme-de-la-Défense, the same historic church in Little Italy where funerals were held for Rizzuto’s son Nick Jr. and father Nick Sr. in 2010.
Rizzuto’s illness and subsequent death were said to have come as a surprise both to friends and reporters who regularly follow the Montreal crime family.
Media reports and Nicaso’s sources have described Rizzuto spending his last few days celebrating the holidays with family and over drinks at a few Montreal bars.
One source, who’d seen Vito Rizzuto in 2013, said he had idea the tall, greying man he described as energetic, polite, with a passion for history, was suffering from cancer.
Over the summer, Rizzuto was spotted golfing.
“No one suspected a sudden death like this,” Nicaso said.

Mafia Waste Dumps Spread to Tuscany

 By BY FRANCES D'EMILIO Associated Press

As Naples is gripped by fears of a Mafia-tainted food chain, Italy's top organized crime-fighter has some more worrisome news: The Camorra syndicate's mobsters have expanded their multibillion-euro toxic-waste disposal racket to the holiday paradise Tuscany and beyond Italian borders to eastern Europe.
Franco Roberti, the national anti-Mafia prosecutor, told The Associated Press that investigators have uncovered Camorra toxic waste-dumping in the Prato area just 17 kilometers (10 miles) north of Florence, the tourist-clogged capital of Tuscany. He said Italy is also investigating a trail of toxic waste being shipped to countries in eastern Europe, although he would not reveal which ones because the probe is ongoing.
Until recently, the toxic waste — mostly from industries in northern Italy — had been dumped in the Camorra's own backyard in the Naples area. Investigators recently discovered that farmlands around Naples are contaminated with dangerous levels of arsenic, lead and other harmful materials. The revelations prompted tens of thousands of people to march through the city's chaotic streets last month.
Roberti said the southern territory where the Camorra holds sway "is a little saturated" — pushing the mob into new areas. Increasingly cozy ties between the Naples-based Camorra and Chinese gangsters make the Prato area in Tuscany a logical choice for the Italian mobsters looking for new dumping grounds.
The Camorra has a long-running and profitable relationship with Chinese mobsters in the manufacturing and illicit sale of fake designer clothing, as The AP has reported previously from Naples. The Prato area has long been the turf of Chinese who have operated clandestine garment factories — many employing illegal Chinese immigrants — for decades.
Roberti said the Camorra doesn't have to shop around for business among the factories, processing plants and hospitals of northern Italy. After two decades in the racket, the Camorra are the go-to people for anyone who wants toxic waste to disappear for a fraction of the cost of what it takes to do it legally.
"There is a circuit of acquaintances, a ring of contacts," said Roberti, who was an anti-mob prosecutor in Naples for years before being promoted this year to be Italy's top Mafia fighter. "The more dangerous the waste, the more the companies pay."
Past probes have found that the Camorra and their Chinese contacts have schemed together in the lucrative illegal waste racket. An operation code-named Marco Polo in the 2005 and conducted by Carabinieri paramilitary police resulted in the confiscation in Naples' port of 20 containers readied for transport aboard cargo ships — holding plastic waste including toxic materials and hospital refuse. The cargo, police said, was about to be shipped to China and Hong Kong.

Genovese mobster bakes up civil trial seeking millions for ‘unjust conviction’

Brooklyn bakery co-owner and wiseguy Mario Fortunato is suing to have the state of New York pay him big bucks for what he calls wrongful imprisonment after a guilty verdict against him for a gangland murder was twice overturned.
Someone who has been tried for murder not once but twice would most likely not want to see the inside of a court again — but this baker’s on a legal roll.
Reputed Genovese associate Mario Fortunato, who twice beat the rap for a gangland murder, is now headed to trial in civil court in a bid to recoup millions of dollars from the state for what he calls his “unjust conviction and imprisonment,” the Daily News has learned.
Fortunato, a co-owner of Fortunato Brothers Bakery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has won a major legal victory over state prosecutors in the Court of Claims that allows him the potential to get payback in civil court.
 “It’s a critical decision,” his lawyer, Irving Cohen, told The News. “It means the case will either be settled or go to trial.”
Judge Alan Marin rejected the state attorney general’s argument that Fortunato got himself convicted because he initially lied to a detective by claiming he had already left a card game in the San Giuseppe Social Club on Graham Ave. in East Williamsburg when a Mafia hit spilled blood in 1994
Fortunato, now 60, was tried and convicted in Brooklyn Federal Court for the rubout of loanshark Tino Lombardi and the wounding of the victim’s cousin Michael D’Urso. After the conviction was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals, the Brooklyn district attorney’s office brought Fortunato to trial in state Supreme Court, getting a conviction, which was also overturned, this time in the state Appellate Division.
Fortunato’s civil suit, Cohen said, seeks monetary damages only for the two years in prison he served following the state conviction.
Judge Marin ruled Wednesday that Fortunato’s inconsistent statements — after his initial fib, he later admitted to another detective that he was in fact present for the shooting — did not disqualify him from a right to sue the state under the Unjust Conviction and Imprisonment Act of 1984.
A spokeswoman for state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman declined to comment.
Fortunato’s co-defendant in the case, pizzamaker Carmine Polito, also won a reversal of his federal murder conviction and was acquitted of murder at trial in a state court in 2007.
After he survived the shooting, D’Urso became a government informant and wore a hidden recording device in his Rolex watch which secured evidence that brought down dozens of Genovese gangsters, including Vincent (Chin) Gigante, then boss of the Genovese crime family.

Canada's most notorious mobster dies

Producer Andrea Crossan

Rizzuto, the reputed head of the Montreal Mafia, died of natural causes early Monday at age 67.
"Rizzuto was born in Sicily into a Sicilian gangster clan," said journalist and author, Adrian Humphreys. "He emigrated to Canada at the age of 8 and together with his father, he built an awesome criminal empire."
Humphreys researched the Rizzuto family for his book "The Sixth Family: The Collapse of the New York Mafia and the Rise of Vito Rizzuto."
"Montreal used to be like a branch plant of the New York mafia, the Bonanno family," Humphreys said. "But (the Rizzuto) family managed to eclipse all the New York mobsters in terms of its geographic stretch, in terms of its dollar value, in terms of its manpower. (Rizzuto) became a global super boss — the biggest name in Canadian crime and one of the biggest mafia bosses on the world stage."
According to Humphreys, the family did a big business in drug trafficking.
"The bones of the family was built on heroin. They were one of the early mafia families to really have a foray into South America," Humphreys said. "They went from heroin to cocaine — drug trafficking was certainly their bread and butter."
In 2007, Rizzuto pleaded guilty to racketeering charges related to three Mafia killings in New York City in 1981. He spent five years in Colorado's Florence Supermax prison before returning to Canada in October 2012. While he was in prison, his once-dominant empire faltered.
"The mafia is a dangerous game," Humphreys said. "He built up so many enemies and created such resentment and people saw so much of an opportunity with him off the street that he was under attack."
Rizzuto's eldest son, Nicolo Jr., was killed in broad daylight in December 2009. In November 2010, Rizzuto's father, Nicolo Sr., was shot and killed as he prepared to sit down to dinner. So the death of Vito Rizzuto this week leaves a power vacuum.
"This is going to be the tricky part," Humphreys said. "His organization was so large. And it takes a tremendous skill set to hold the reigns of that. I don't think any one man can fill his shoes."

Andrea Crossan is a Boston-based senior producer for The World. She follows all things Canadian and has a dog the size of a small horse.

Jury: 'Little Tony' deserves life for Fla. slaying


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A jury on Tuesday recommended life in prison rather than the death penalty for Anthony "Little Tony" Ferrari in the 2001 mob-style killing of a former gambling executive who also founded the Miami Subs restaurant chain.
The sentencing recommendation by the 12 jurors, who deliberated about an hour Tuesday night after an all-day hearing, is not binding on Circuit Judge Ilona Holmes, who will impose a final sentence Thursday or Friday. The law requires Holmes to strongly consider the jury's advice, and it seemed clear she would.
"There's only one sentence I can impose," Holmes said.
Trial testimony showed that Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis, 51, was shot to death as he sat in his car on a downtown Fort Lauderdale street. Witnesses testified the killing was orchestrated by Ferrari and Anthony "Big Tony" Moscatiello, a reputed member of New York's Gambino crime family.
Both had well-paying contracts with SunCruz Casinos under its new owners that were threatened by interference from former owner Boulis, witnesses said.
"Lining his pockets with SunCruz money was more important to Mr. Ferrari than this man's life," said Cavanagh, holding up a photograph of Boulis.
Ferrari's attorney, Christopher Grillo, countered that evidence showed Boulis was shot by a mob hit man and that a co-defendant of Ferrari's with strong Mafia ties was the one who hired the shooter.
"Mr. Ferrari is not the worst of the worst. He didn't shoot anyone," Grillo said.
After the jury's decision, Grillo said he was "thankful to the jury for saving his life." Cavanagh said prosecutors got what they wanted when Ferrari was convicted.
"We had justice happen with the guilty verdict. This man will spend the rest of his life in jail," Cavanagh said.
Ferrari's 8-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter both took the witness stand Tuesday, saying in brief testimony that they both loved their father and that he was a valued presence in their lives, even from behind bars.
Anthony Ferrari Jr., a third-grader, said he tells his father "how much I love him and about school. He tells me that he loves me a lot. I tell him I miss him a lot. He misses me, too."
A defense psychologist, Michael Brannon, testified that Ferrari does not have any mental disorders or illnesses but does have a tendency to exaggerate the positive things in his life.
"For this person, Mr. Ferrari, it's very important that he looks good. Image is very important," Brannon said.
Brannon also said that Ferrari grew up in an essentially fatherless home, had to deal with abuse directed at his older sister and began associating with organized crime figures in New York at a very young age.
Before he was killed, Boulis sold the SunCruz fleet to New York businessman Adam Kidan — who knew Moscatiello and sought him out for his purported mob ties — and then-powerhouse Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Kidan and Abramoff later pleaded guilty to fraud in the $147.5 million SunCruz deal and served federal prison time.
Kidan clashed with Boulis frequently over SunCruz, which Boulis hoped someday to take over again.
Moscatiello, 75, is also charged with murder and was on trial with Ferrari until his attorney became ill. Moscatiello, who has pleaded not guilty, will be retried later. The alleged hit man was later killed in a dispute with a Boca Raton delicatessen owner.
Testifying in his own defense, Ferrari claimed that another conspirator committed the murder and that Kidan was behind the plot. Kidan, however, testified that both Ferrari and Moscatiello had confessed the crime to him. The other conspirator, James "Pudgy" Fiorillo, admitted conducting surveillance of Boulis and getting rid of the murder weapon, but said he did not shoot Boulis.

Police are looking for three suspects in connection with a Laval fatal shooting tied to organized crime.

The Sûreté du Québec says at least three people were inside a silver Pontiac Montana minivan that was spotted leaving a restaurant parking lot — where 54-year-old Roger Valiquette was gunned down.
Valiquette had known links to the Mafia and organized crime.
He was a business associate of Tonino Callocchia, a construction entrepreneur who was also shot in the parking lot of a Laval restaurant earlier this year but survived.
Callocchia is also believed to have strong ties to Montreal’s Italian Mafia.
Police are waiting to speak with other witnesses to Valiquette’s shooting.
Police received numerous calls yesterday just before 4 p.m. Wednesday from people reporting gunshots. Police found Valiquette in the parking lot of a St-Hubert restaurant on Dagenais Boulevard, in the district of Fabreville.