Thursday, October 25, 2007
Venezuela ... Italy ... Montreal ... Vancouver, drugs trafficking and money-laundering involving bankers, business people and stockbrokers
REPORTS DETAIL CRIME RING RUN BY REPUTED MOB CHIEFTAIN
CanWest News Service - October 25, 2007
MONTREAL -- Cocaine hidden in animal-hide shipments to thwart drug-sniffing police dogs. Three hundred kilograms of cocaine quietly seized by police in Vancouver. Swiss bank accounts code-named Oil 1 and Oil 2. An alleged frontman with ties to Italian royalty.
Newspapers in Italy are piecing together details of an alleged major money-laundering and drug-smuggling scheme dismantled this week -- an operation Italian police charge was run by reputed Montreal mobster Vito Rizzuto from his jail cell.
His father, Nicolo Rizzuto, is also among those wanted by Italian authorities. In total, 19 people, including bankers, business people and stockbrokers, were arrested after an Italian police investigation, with assistance from police in Canada, France and Switzerland.
Italian police say the scheme revolved around a company called Made in Italy Inc., with its Rome headquarters across the street from a former palace where the Italian cabinet meets.
Ostensibly created to promote Italian wares internationally, Italian authorities say the company's main role was to launder $600 million in drug profits.
Until recently, Mariano Turrisi, the head of Made in Italy, was vice-president of Valori e Futuro (Values and Future), a movement founded by Prince Emanuele Filiberto -- an heir to the defunct throne of Italy -- to pave his way into politics.
What Filiberto did not know was that Turrisi had previously been investigated by police in Italy and the United States for ties to the Mafia in New York, Il Sole 24 Ore, an Italian business newspaper, reported yesterday.
The RCMP assisted in the investigation that led to Tuesday's arrests, but it is keeping mum about its role.
Claudio Gatti, an investigative reporter at Il Sole 24 Ore, said in an interview that Canadian and Italian police have exchanged wiretap evidence.
It includes conversations between Rizzuto and Turrisi. On the tapes, Rizzuto is also heard telling someone that Turrisi is "an associate" whom he had "done things with," Gatti said.
In another conversation, Rizzuto refers to Turrisi as a "thief," according to transcripts obtained by Gatti.
Several Italian newspapers reported yesterday that this week's arrests may be related to a seizure of 300 kilograms of cocaine in Vancouver last year. That seizure was kept quiet for fear that divulging it would hamper investigators, La Sicilia reported.
The paper reported two bank workers in Veneto in northern Italy were allegedly responsible for depositing huge quantities of drug money in two Swiss bank accounts, dubbed Olio 1 and Olio 2 (Oil 1 and Oil 2).
Cocaine allegedly made its way from Venezuela to Canada and was then shipped hidden in animal hides to northern Italy, centre of the country's fashion industry. The hides were transported while they were being tanned, with the shippers hoping the acidic chemicals used in the process would confuse drug-sniffing dogs, according to Il Tempo, another newspaper.
One of the people arrested in Tuesday's police sweep in Italy is Felice Italiano, a LaSalle, Que., resident who in 1994 was arrested as part of one of the biggest drug seizures in Canada. The charges were later dropped after a judge determined police had fabricated evidence.
© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2007
Another chapter in the never ending story of the imperfect human justice
On October 4, 2013 the final judgment was passed by the Italian Republic absolving Mr. Mariano Turrisi of all his charges that were deemed as “nonexistent”. Turrisi, president and founder of Made in Italy Inc. was, confirmed as acquitted by the Court of Appeal in Rome.
In December of 2010 the Supreme Court of Italy had already acquitted the entrepreneur but the pathway to justice in that country is notoriously unscrupulous.
The well Known owner and publisher of The Made in Italy Magazine, a glossy high-end publication promoting authentic Italian products, prior to the beginning of his personal ordeal had dreamed of offering small and medium sized Italian companies good exposure and opportunities within the US market while creating jobs in Italy ; an initiative driven by a praiseworthy vision that, at the light of the actual critical situation of the Italian economy, was certainly aimed in the right direction.
The Made in Italy Magazine was launched successfully as a monthly publication printed in Italy and dedicated to the US market but Mr. Turrisi’s dream was shattered in October 2007 when the Italian authorities seized all of his properties and arrested him on exorbitant charges which later proved to be “nonexistent”.
Turrisi who has emerged not guilty has become, on the other hand, a new victim of the Italian judiciary system and of the scandalous media frenzy that have tarnished his name and reputation.
Unfortunately, while destroying is easy rebuilding is considerably harder.
Now, one more time, everyone wonders what those who are responsible of this resounding mistake are going to do in order to restore Mr. Turrisi’s name and reputation.