Saturday, January 11, 2020

Lino Saputo denies mob ties, over and over

Lino Saputo turned his family's cheese making business into a multibillion-dollar global dairy empire and became one of the 10 richest men in Canada in the process. While amassing his $6.5b fortune, Saputo has been dogged by allegations of having ties to powerful Mafia figures in both Canada and the US. The 82-year-old has repeatedly denied those allegations, most recently in his memoir. He devotes an entire chapter to dismissing the claims. But between 1964 and 1979, Saputo maintained a relationship with Joseph Bonanno, considered one of the founding members of the American Mafia.

In 1980 a judge determined Saputo was so closely linked to Bonanno that allowing him to do business in New York was not in the public interest.

Some 1,500 pages of evidence detailed how Saputo disguised interactions and financial dealings with Bonanno
Bonanno claimed to have known the Saputos since the early 1960s. He called them "friends."

Mafia rumors followed Saputo through the 1970s. They were unfounded, he said. "I felt victimized and cut off from Quebec society by the false allegations based solely on our Italian origins." Cops found lawyers' letters, financial statements and notes that linked Bonanno to Saputo and his businesses.
Lino Saputo, left, receiving the Order of Canada in 2013.
Saputo describes Giuseppe Borsellino as 'My dear friend and brother-in-law." Borsellino had high level Bonanno contacts. In 1995, Borsellino and his wife, Elina Saputo, attended a wedding anniversary party for Nicolo Rizzuto and Libertina Manno. Rizzuto's son Vito was also present. He was the head of the Montreal Mafia. Bonanno died in 2002 at age 97. His obituary claimed he was the model for 'The Godfather'. Saputo Inc. went public in 1997. The company has global operations and is worth an estimated $15b.