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Saturday, 18 October 2008

Assets will be confiscated from six mob leaders, including Nicolo Rizzuto, as the case against them enters the sentencing stage.

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Assets will be confiscated from six mob leaders, including Nicolo Rizzuto, as the case against them enters the sentencing stage.Last month, when Rizzuto and the five other reputed leaders of the Montreal Mafia pleaded guilty to charges stemming from Project Colisee, prosecutor Yvan Poulin told Quebec Court Judge Jean-Pierre Bonin that confiscations had played a role in the plea bargaining process.Project Colisee was a Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit investigation into the Rizzuto organization and its involvement in drug smuggling, drug trafficking and illegal gambling.Among the assets seized when arrests were carried out in November 2006 were 10 residences in Montreal and Laval, $3.5 million in cash and the assets from several bank accounts.When Francesco (Chit) Del Balso, 38 was arrested as part of the Colisee sweep, the Crown placed a seizure order on his home in Laval’s Vimont district. The court order blocked Del Balso and his wife from selling their house or using it to obtain a loan. The house was estimated to be worth more than $350,000 in the most recent municipal evaluation. The RCMP was also seeking to confiscate a luxury villa Del Balso owns in Acapulco, Mexico, as well as assets in several bank accounts linked to him through business associates and relatives.But according to the revised indictment filed when Del Balso pleaded guilty last month, he only admits to possessing “sums of money” that were derived from other criminal acts he pleaded guilty to like drug trafficking.The other five leaders also pleaded guilty to possessing money obtained as the proceeds of crime.The Canada Revenue Agency has placed a seizure order on Rizzuto’s home in northern Montreal, estimated to be worth more than $650,000, while it pursues him for more than $1.5 million in unpaid taxes on revenue he allegedly made while leading the mob.The federal taxman has taken similar action on a Laval residence owned by Lorenzo Giordano that is also estimated to be worth more than $650,000.Bonin is also expected to hear what sentences have been agreed upon. The judge is not required to accept a joint recommendation on a sentence if he disagrees with it, but there is little chance Bonin will be surprised by any joint recommendations because he sat in on the lengthy negotiations that produced the guilty pleas.

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