September 14, 2012
Corruption inquiry wants mobsters to testify
By Jean-Louis Fortin, QMI Agency
MONTREAL - Quebec's corruption inquiry has invited several influential Quebec Mafia members to testify at public hearings, QMI Agency has learned.
Judge France Charbonneau hopes reputed Rizzuto underboss Raynald Desjardins will agree to take the stand, a source tells QMI Agency.
Desjardins, one of the few non-Italians in Vito Rizzuto's inner circle, is currently in jail pending a trial for the murder of a rival.
One of Desjardins' lawyers, Marc Labelle, tells QMI Agency that commission investigators met with his client last week.
The Crown wants the construction businessman and convicted drug-runner to voluntarily reveal the links between organized crime and Quebec construction companies.
Labelle wouldn't say whether his 59-year-old client has agreed to testify.
Sources say investigators have asked a number of gangsters and associates to take the stand without being subpoenaed.
Charbonneau is reluctant to force the mobsters to talk for fear that they'll have convenient memory lapses under oath.
If Desjardins appears before the commission, it will be done at the same time as ongoing legal proceedings against him.
He's charged, along with four others, in the murder last year of Salvatore "Sal the Iron Worker" Montagna, an aspiring Montreal mobster originally from New York.
Montagna, thought to be next in line to lead Montreal's Mafia underworld, was killed in retaliation for an attempt on Desjardins' life, the Crown says.
Police pulled Montagna's body from a river northeast of Montreal in November 2011 after witnesses reported hearing a gunshot and seeing a man run towards the water and dive in.
Vito Rizzuto is one of the few men still standing amid a purge that has seen his father, son and several top associates murdered in the past three years. He's serving time for a 1981 Mob hit and is scheduled to be released later this year.