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Wednesday, November 24, 2004

A little more "whiff"

First, let's go back to last week's CP story by Bruce Cheadle; Unproven rumours and innuendo trailed Gagliano throughout years in office (which hilariously has many identical paragraphs taken from Cheadle's own January 10, 2002 story: Gagliano has long history of staring down critics. What is this? "Quick, cut and paste the Gagliano apologist 'graphs!")

The whiff of scandal kept him out of cabinet when Chretien's Liberals swept to power in September 1993 and the RCMP began doing routine security checks on potential ministers.

It turned out Gagliano, a certified general accountant, personally handled bookkeeping for companies owned by a reputed Sicilian Mafia member from the 1970s through to Gagliano's election in 1984. After that, Gagliano's firm handled the accounts.

But as we are all starting to realize, it was a little more than "Whoops and golly! Look what we found!" as the CP reporter tries to portray it. Thanks to Robert_a in our Comments section who found this excellent 1997 article in Transnational Organized Crime. We can add two more names to Gagliano-mob connection list, Dima Messina and Filippo Vaccarello. (Lovely quote from Chretien.) And I guess this puts to rest any doubt about the RCMP being onto this, going back as far at least to 1985. If Paul Martin and the Liberals don't release the RCMP security briefing to Jean Chretien, I guess Canadians are free to assume the worst. Here is part of the section Robert referred to:

"Nor was Agostino Cuntrera the only client of Gagliano. Another was Dima Messina, the financial aid of Montreal Mafia-boss Vito Rizzuto. An RCMP investigation showed that Messina laundered 22 million Canadian dollars for Rizzuto in 1986-88. Rizzuto's Ferrari Testarossa (a 250,000 dollar Italian sports car) was registered under Messina's name.

During the controlled delivery of 58 kilos of heroin to Montreal in 1985-–the RCMP and British Customs were aware of the traffic and closely watched the transactions-–one of the traffickers, Filippo Vaccarello, and an unidentified person, were observed entering the office of Mr Gagliano before the heroin arrived. After leaving the office Vaccarello proceeded with a tour of notorious bars well-known as selling points for heroin.

Bookkeeping proves to be a sensitive business for a politician. When the matter was discussed in Parliament after "La Presse" disclosed the facts, Premier Chrétien declared: ""This Parliament would be much better off if we had more Gagliano's".

Posted by Kevin Steel on November 24, 2004 in Canadian Politics | Permalink

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Comments

"First, let's go back to last week's CP story by Bruce Cheadle; Unproven rumours and innuendo trailed Gagliano throughout years in office (which hilariously has many identical paragraphs taken from Cheadle's own January 10, 2002 story"

Come, come now....you wouldn't be inferring that Mr Cheadle plagurized the 1997 TNOC report would you............no, not a journalist...well just maybe ;}

Posted by: robert_a | 2004-11-24 2:53:57 PM


Actually, I was just laughing at how he cut and pasted from his old article which I accidentally found when trying to find a fresh link to last week's story.

By quoting from the CP story, I simply wanted to draw attention to the way some news organizations have treated the story, in particular how they refer to the RCMP security clearance: Ho-hum, routine security check, nothing much, happened to work for one mob guy, and Gagliano explains it away as bad judgment. So into Cabinet he goes.

Posted by: Kevin Steel | 2004-11-24 4:37:51 PM



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