Real Estate: Ontario is the mob’s ‘money-laundering capital’ for the world

Ontario is the mob’s ‘money-laundering capital’ for the world

Ontario is the mob's 'money-laundering capital' for the world

Vito Rizzuto, the former head of one of Montreal’s main mafia families.

Credits: PABLO DURANT/LE JOURNAL DE MONTRÉAL/QMI AGENCY

ROB LAMBERTI | QMI AGENCY

TORONTO – A low-key mob war being waged in Quebec won’t rattle this province because Ontario is the economic engine fuelling the battle, sources say.Ontario is the source of most of the wealth for organized crime while the violence for the most part remains in Quebec.

The province, according to investigators and an organized crime expert, is bankrolling European operations, often targets of tough money laundering and asset seizure laws.

The war in Quebec intensified when chieftain Vito Rizzuto returned home in early October.

It’s a battle that has pitted Rizzuto against an alliance of underworld figures who have also sided with a group of opponents, some of whom are based in Ontario.

It has been a war of precise hits on both sides, where key members have been assassinated and, along the way, possibly a few internal squabbles were settled as well.

“The longer Rizzuto stays alive, the stronger he gets and the weaker the Calabrians get,” a police investigator said. “So many people made so much money with him, including the Calabrians, things could return to the way they were.”

The gauntlet was dropped in 2009 while Rizzuto was in a federal U.S. penitentiary in Colorado for his role in the 1981 assassinations of three Bonanno captains planning a coup.

While in prison, the Montreal mob boss lost his son Nicolo, his father Nicolo Sr., and other close members of his family to usurpers.

It also saw a former boss of the Bonanno family of New York – who agreed to leave the U.S. in April 2009 after being ordered deported – try to set up shop in Quebec while Rizzuto was in jail. But Montreal-born Sal “Bambino Boss” Montagna was whacked in November 2011 before he was able to solidify his role in the underworld.

Four men are charged in that murder.

Rizzuto returned to Quebec in October after serving his time in the U.S., and since his arrival, there have been a few hits police believe are related to the underworld power struggle.

The most significant murder since Rizzuto’s return was the November shooting death of his one-time ally Joe Di Maulo, 72. Since Rizzuto was imprisoned, Di Maulo is believed to have abandoned the Montreal mobster and sided with Montagna and his brother-in-law Raynald Desjardins, who is now one of the men charged with Montagna’s murder.

Mohammed Awada, 47, once charged but acquitted of kidnapping a Rizzuto soldier, was murdered in November.

Emilio Cordileone, a Rizzuto ally, was murdered in December.

Also in December, a Rizzuto bodyguard and driver, Giuseppe Fetta, was shot and wounded.

“There is tension,” says one veteran police investigator. “There is no true leadership” and factions – including Eastern European crime groups – are struggling for the lucrative underworld market in eastern Canada.

At times, the violence within those groups are confused with the conflict between Rizzuto and the Calabrian mobs, some based in the GTA.

When Rizzuto was in charge, the investigator says, he applied his style of conciliation and control, he kept criminality in place and argued there was enough money for most of the players. One of his most valued members in Ontario, Gaetano Panepinto, was sacrificed in 2000 to a Calabrian clan to maintain the peace.

Ontario, meanwhile, is maintaining its role as the source of most of the wealth for organized crime while the violence for the most part remains in Quebec.

“Here in Ontario, it’s the money-laundering capital of organized crime for the world,” the investigator says. “Why upset the apple cart?

“That’s Ontario’s role,” he says.

Mob expert and prolific author Antonio Nicaso agrees, and believes the wealth of the organized crime groups based here is bankrolling their European operations, which are targets of tough seizure laws.

“The importance of Quebec is mostly because of the port,” Nicaso says. “Ontario is seen as a place for investment.

“They need to keep Ontario quiet, peaceful,” he says, adding almost all major criminal organizations are investing money in Ontario. “Don’t make noise where you invest money.”

The Port of Montreal is a major transshipment point for drugs destined for the U.S. market, Nicaso says. It’s a simple task for organized crime to use Native territory that crosses three borders without scrutiny to ship drugs or any other contraband into the U.S., he says.

And that’s a role that doesn’t appear will be challenged by law enforcement as there appears little initiative or pressure to investigate organized crime in Ontario as in Quebec. The Charbonneau Commission has exposed a number of corrupt practices between government, business and criminal organizations, which raises questions, but offers no answers about Ontario.

One investigator is concerned there have been no arrests in Ontario, noting that family members of organized crime groups are integrating into society, volunteering, donating to organizations and making social and political connections.

“The important note is the lack of bodies in the streets of Ontario does not mean the mob is not alive and well,” he says.

Police and observers are also concerned that the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit – Ontario’s primary multi-force organized crime agency which has a long history – is being reorganized, if not dismantled.

“The history of the mafia is a history of relationships,” Nicaso says. Violence is not the norm but a symptom of an imbalance in power, he says.

“That’s what we’re seeing in Montreal,” Nicaso says. For about 30 years, Rizzuto kept the balance and the corruption hidden. But as mayors fall along with a few bodies, discord will continue until a new balance is achieved.

“To me, it doesn’t seem the victims are on one side … and this is an indication that things are changing,” Nicaso says. “Whoever wants to replace the Rizzuto family has to rebuild those political and financial connections or else they won’t survive.”

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COMMENT:

Came across this link on a Real Estate blog…The person posting implies a connection with the Toronto Real Estate and bluntly stated they tied the “Booming” Real Estate Market to ” Money Laundering “.

IMHO, Money Laundering should be categorized.

There have been numerous calls by citizens that want the Canada Revenue Agency(CRA) to audit Real Estate transactions ,especially pre- sale condos..whereby the pre -sale agreement is flipped to others for a profit, before the final legal title is assigned..ie someone could put 5 % down….say on a unit selling for $300,000…..then sell the pre -sale agreement for $400,000….keep the profit and the Gov’t doesn’t know, hence it is UNtaxed. How much of this transaction process was laundered money?

Why is the Federal Gov’t hesitant in pursuing this ?  It would not be difficult.

Or…those that simply buy condos and never live on them, drive the market into unsustainable prices…these parties are “laundering” to buy a passport, but otherwise not contributing anything of true value to the economy…they fuel speculation and the native born citizens are pushed  into fewer housing options.

QUOTE:

“Here in Ontario, it’s the money-laundering capital of organized crime for the world,” the investigator says. “Why upset the apple cart?

“That’s Ontario’s role,” he says.

Mob expert and prolific author Antonio Nicaso agrees, and believes the wealth of the organized crime groups based here is bankrolling their European operations, which are targets of tough seizure laws.

“The importance of Quebec is mostly because of the port,” Nicaso says. “Ontario is seen as a place for investment.

“They need to keep Ontario quiet, peaceful,” he says, adding almost all major criminal organizations are investing money in Ontario. “Don’t make noise where you invest money.”

Money is laundered several ways, but those involved don’t necessarily seek profit on their investment…they will accept a loss. They know that their enterprises are highly profitable, but their fear is having the Gov’t tipped- off and thus expose them to scrutiny. If, for example , a rug dealer makes $1 Million on a drug deal, they may buy say TWO $500,000 condos. They may sell at a loss say… $ 400,000 each. Did they “lose” $200,000 on the deals? Technically yes..but in their world of accounting no…they have $800,000 of clean aka laundered  money now from a legitimate traceable source if they are ever audited, and even morseo if they are from outside the country, the Gov’t does not ask these questions,…simply considers them “investors”.

 

What ultimatey happens is that Gov’t itself becomes addicted to the various cash flows that results…and try to take credit with the jobs “created” and the so called “booming” economy. To actually investigate may create fear and panic and the whole house of cards comes down, and the Gov’t will have egg on its face from several directions. 

In other words, our Gov’t are in bed with Developers and likely Criminals as well.

Without casting defineable groups in a negative light..interesting that the ethnicity of the key players in the Toronto laundering is the same ethnicity of many major Vancouver developers.

 

The article above notes “Toronto”, but given the criminal laws are Federal jurisidction, you can bet Vancouver is also a major money laundering operation as well, and Real Estate one of the is the MAIN venues for such laundering. I stated this earlier, IMHO, that IS the only reason that they are still building condos while the real market is collapsing, as it was bound to do. The wake up call is when more people start to realize things do NOT add up and the more condos that are built that do not follow NORMAL market forces,…. the WORSE it will get. Nothing good comes from money derived from ill – gotten gains ,it is like fueling a cancer.

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