Wiretaps reveal how Mafia had its hooks into FTQ
Published Tuesday, October 29, 2013 10:35AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 29, 2013 7:06PM EDT
MONTREAL -- A Montreal police officer who specializes in keeping track of organized crime is telling the Charbonneau Commission how the Mafia had its hooks in the construction industry.
Nicodemo Milano has worked with the FBI and was part of Operation Colisée, which beheaded the Mafia in Montreal in Nov. 2006.
Now he works as an investigator for the corruption inquiry, and on the stand Tuesday explained the history of the Arcuri father/son mobsters dating to 1972, and every alleged mobster involved with Carboneutre and related firms.
Carboneutre has been discussed before at the Charbonneau Commission, when a witness from the firm explained how Domenico Arcuri acquired control of the company.
Carboneutre began as a promising company specializing in cleaning toxic soil. But by 2008, it had $4 million in debt and was being taken to court by competitors and the Quebec government.
Benoit Ringuette, the company's co-founder, explained that Arcuri wiped out the company's debt and, through connections with union executives such as Jocelyn Dupuis and organized criminals like Raynald Desjardins, tapped into the Fonds de Solidarité-FTQ.
On Tuesday Milano confirmed that Desjardins and Dupuis were good friends, and played a wiretapped conversation between the pair, along with video surveillance showing them warmly greeting each other.
“There's a hug, some kisses, there are signs they’re close to each other,” said Milano.
In the conversations played to the inquiry, Dupuis, a senior executive with the Quebec Federation of Labour, is heard telling Desjardins, a mobster connected to Vito Rizzuto, that he will speed up financing from the Fonds de Solidarité-FTQ.
The tapes played also include a conversation where Dupuis is told pressure will be put on Elaine Zakaib, who worked for the Fonds de Solidarité-FTQ, to fund Arcuri's firm.
“I told Elaine I'd give her a hand with this,” Dupuis is heard saying.
Zakaib, who is an MNA with the Parti Quebecois government, said on Tuesday that she never felt pressured into providing any funding for any corporation.
“We never invested in this company, so no pressure at all,” she said, adding that she never suspected anything at the time.
Dupuis saved his intense lobbying for Carboneutre by going straight to FTQ president Michel Arsenault, who promised to intervene.
“As soon as they provide the right documents, I'll handle everything,” he was heard saying.
Dupuis and Arsenault’s influence could only go so far; Carboneutre never got its financing.
Earlier in the day, former union executive Ken Pereira finished being cross-examined, with Justice France Charbonneau thanking him for his courage in testifying, and blowing the whistle on apparent corruption within the ranks of one of Quebec's largest unions.