Italian authorities say Canada, especially Ontario, has become a base for the Calabrian Mafia, or 'Ndrangheta — particularly for money laundering — because Canada is perceived to have a lax approach to dealing with the Mob.

Italian anti-Mafia prosecutor Roberto DiPalma revealed to a joint Radio-Canada/Toronto Star investigation that Canada may have become a place where Mob figures can hide, hoping that Canadian justice won't touch them.

“Canada is virgin territory for the 'Ndrangheta,” said DiPalma. “They infiltrated the fabric of the economy, especially through the construction industry.”

Some Italian prosecutors are openly frustrated by Canada's handling of the murderous, wealthy and drug trafficking 'Ndrangheta.

"It is 10 years since we told the Canadians to pay attention because 'Ndrangheta is very present in Canada, mostly in Toronto," said prosecutor Nicola Gratteri. "We did not have good collaboration with the Canadian police."

STORY CONTINUES BELOW SLIDESHOW

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  • Quebec's corruption inquiry has heard an exhaustive history of the Italian Mafia -- how it was created, how it got into the construction business, and how pervasive it is. One witness, Italian-born criminology PhD Valentina Tenti, shared a document recovered by Italian police that purports to hold the "Ten Commandments" of the Sicilian Mafia, known the "Cosa Nostra" (Our Thing). <em>With files from The Canadian Press</em>

  • 10. No Easy Meetings

    No one can present himself directly to one of our friends ("amico nostro"). There must be a third party to do it.

  • 9. Never Look At The Wives Of Friends.

  • 8. Never Be Seen With Cops

  • 7. Don't Go To Pubs And Clubs

  • 6. Stay Available ALWAYS

    Always being available for Cosa Nostra is a duty -- even if your wife is about to give birth.

  • 5. Appointments Must Absolutely Be Respected.

  • 4. Wives Must Be Treated With Respect

  • 3. Be Truthful

    When asked for any information, the answer must be the truth.

  • 2. Respect The Cash

    Money cannot be taken if it belongs to others or to other families.

  • 1. Keep It Exclusive

    People who can't be part of Cosa Nostra: Anyone who has a close relative in the police, anyone with a traitor for a relative, anyone who behaves badly and doesn't hold to moral values.

Strong Mob presence in Ontario

Italian prosecutors believe there may be seven clans operating in Toronto, and two in Thunder Bay.

Over past two years, Italian investigators identified 30 past or current residents of Canada with links to the 'Ndrangheta. Nearly a third of them have active Italian arrest warrants, but they live untroubled in Canada.

Following the 2007 U.S. imprisonment of Vito Rizutto, the reputed kingpin of the Montreal Mob, one theory is that the 'Ndrangheta have been making moves back into Montreal, which they lost control of about 30 years ago.

Some Canadians admit that police in Ontario dragged their feet more than authorities in Quebec, where a wave of Montreal firebombings and killings have taken place that experts blame on a power struggle involving the Rizutto crime family.

"We have people on enforcement that don't understand crime,” said Ben Soave, a retired chief superintendent who headed up the RCMP's anti-Mafia efforts in Ontario until 2004.

“We have people in enforcement that think that [with] organized crime, we go in, we do a one-year investigation. It's costing a lot of money," he said. "We gotta drop it because now it's costed too much money.”

No Mafia association law in Canada

The issue is complicated by the fact Canada doesn't have Mafia association legislation. That means it is not a crime in this country to be a member of a Mafia organization.

Canada could be considered a place of refuge for some on the run, as this country won't extradite people who are accused only of Mafia links in Italy.

"If the mafia is set up in Toronto it's because the legislative system isn't severe enough," Gratteri said.

For all the complaints from Italian prosecutors about Canada, they do concede that Canadian police are starting to listen and finally understand the consequences of what it means to have the 'Ndrangheta in their midst.

Last month at Quebec's corruption inquiry, an Italian expert on the Mafia said the 'Ndrangheta's presence in Canada is strong.

The Calabrian crime group is less well-known but just a successful financially as the Sicilian group, the Cosa Nostra, said Valentina Tenti, who holds a doctorate in criminology and is doing post-doctoral work in Montreal.

During her presentation at the inquiry, Tenti cited a study suggesting that the 'Ndrangheta made $56 billion from various criminal activities, primarily through the drug trade with Colombia.

"That's almost 2.9 per cent of the gross domestic product of Italy," Tenti said.

Related on HuffPost:

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  • "Vinny Carwash"

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/23/funniest-mafia-nicknames_n_812740.html">Back In 2011, the FBI made one of the biggest Mafia busts ever in New York City</a>. Here are some of the funniest nicknames from that case.

  • "Junior Lollipops"

  • "The Vet"

  • "Johnny Pizza"

  • "The Claw"

  • "Marbles"

  • "The Professor"

  • "Tony Bagels"

  • "Johnny Cash"

  • "Baby Fat Larry"


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  • Capibanda Sicliani, 1892

    These images of brigand chiefs Antonino Leone and Placido Rinaldi, positioned after death in poses for photographs, were preserved in the album of an old police official. Rinaldi, a native of Casteldilucio, was the leader of the Maurina gang, which was active in the countryside between Messina and Catania; the bounty on his head had reached 4,000 lire. He led the famous attack on the estate of the baroness Ciancio, making off with the incredible sum of 300,000 lire. On September 14, 1892, the commander of the carabinieri of the Pettineo Post, Vincenzo Venturi, along with his colleagues Francesco Navetta, Calogero Letizia, and Giovanni Castrogiovanni, while patrolling the Loreto district ran into the Maurina gang. In the shoot-out Rinaldi received a mortal wound.

  • Detective Joe Petrosino

    The story of Joe Petrosino (1860-1909) is one of those fatally destined to become legendary. Born in the Campagna region of Italy, he arrived in New York City with his family in 1873, and even as a boy he distinguished himself for industriousness. While studying English, he did not disdain dirtying his hands with humble labors such as shining shoes and sweeping streets. He joined the police force in 1883, and his early years were not easy as the only Italian policeman amid many Jewish and Irish colleagues. But the police needed a man who spoke the new language of criminality, that of the Black Hand and the first Mafia gangs. In 1895 one of the leaders of the police force, the future president of the United States Theodore Roosevelt, promoted him to sergeant and entrusted him with the roll of investigator, saving him from street patrol.

  • The arrest of Thomas Petto

    This image, from 1903, shows detective Joe Petrosino (far left) with his colleagues Carey and McCafferty, escorting Thomas Petto (second from left) to prison. Petto, nicknamed the "Ox," was twenty-four and a member of the Morello gang. A pawn ticket found in his pocket tied him to the murder of Benedetto Madonia. Petrosino caught him a few days after the discovery of the body and suspected that Petto was the material author of the murder. The so-called Barrel Murder, however, did not have a happy outcome at trial: between sudden memory losses of witnesses, silences, and retractions, none of the criminals involved was convicted.

  • Lucky Luciano, Napoli, 1954

    Without doubt, Luciano was the most farsighted of the Cosa Nostra's godfathers. During the years preceding the Second World War he had formed a commission composed of representatives of the five New York families: Bonanno, Gambino, Columbo, Genovese, and Lucchese. To these could be added the families in Buffalo, Detroit, Kansas City, Los Angeles, and the Chicago Outfit. [...] District Attorney Thomas E. Dewey got him on the charge of organizing a prostitution racket. He was sent to prison but given early parole and deported to Italy in 1946. But despite restrictions and checks Luciano did not lose his influence, nor did he stop exercising control over criminal traffic, first of all that of drugs. [...] He is shown [in this photograph] a few years later, in November1954, after a court hearing during which restrictive measures were applied to his activity. Without certain proof, but "suspected of socially dangerous activity," Luciano for two years was required not to leave his home in Naples between the hours of nine at night and seven the next morning."

  • The funeral of Don Calogero Vizzini, 1954

    Caption: Involved with the Allies during the liberation of Sicily, capable of winking at the separatist movement only to then swerve away towards the Christian Democrats when he understood Finocchiaro Aprile did not have a great future, Calogero Vizzini (...) was a perfect example of the old-style boss. [...] When Vizzini died, on July 12, 1954, thousands paid him tribute. In the photo showing the cortege one can see among many others, Don Francesco Paolo Bontate of Palermo, better known as Don Paolino Bonta, first on the left and father of Stefano, future boss. There is also (near the center, holding a cord tied to the coffin) Don Giuseppe Genco Russo of Mussomeli, who collected Vizzini's inheritance. The sign that friends attached to the door of the church of Villalba, where the funeral Mass was celebrated, read, "Calogero Vizzini, with the skill of a genius, raised the fate of a distinguished family. Wise and dynamic, never tired, he gave well-being to the workers of the land and the sulfur mines, always acting for good and making a good name for himself in Italy and elsewhere. Great in the face of persecution, even greater facing defeat, he never lost his smile, and today, returned to the peace of Christ in the majesty of death. From all his friends and even from his adversaries, he receives the most beautiful testimonial: he was a gentleman."

  • The homicide of Angelo Galatolo

    The year was 1956. By then the "Mafia of the markets," also called the "Mafia of the gardens," not only controlled the wholesale market of fruits and vegetables and their distribution among small tradesman, but also was involved in the supply of fertilizers and laborers, the transport of products, and the control of prices at every step of the transaction. The conquest of the market ordained that on August 23 the decision was made to kill Angelo Galatolo. Four months earlier it had been the turn of his brother Gaetano, called ′un zu Tanu.

  • The murder of Turridu Carnevale

    Francesca Serio, the mother of Turridu Carnevale, had a premonition. That night she had a terrible dream and saying good-bye to her son she told him to watch out. When she heard a man had been shot she understood at once and began running toward the quarry. Newspapers told of how a carabiniere tried to stop her, telling her it wasn't Salvatore. To which she responded, "Coward, this isn't my son? Those aren't the feet of my son? And those aren't the socks I washed for my son yesterday, which he put on his feet?" The desperate mother had no qualms about pointing her finger at the men who'd killed her son, and the trial that ended in December 1961 seemed to prove her right. The four men accused of the murder of Carnevale were all given life in prison. But the appeals process, which took place in Naples two years later, and then the Court of Cassation (court of final appeal), acquitted all of them.

  • The mysterious death of Salvatore Giuliano

    There are many versions of the death of Salvatore Giuliano, killed July 5, 1950. The only certainty is that the scene, as presented to the public and immortalized in the photographs released by the press, was in reality a theatrical production. The official version speaks of a gunfight between carabinieri and the bandit, who was then mortally wounded in the courtyard of the home of the lawyer Gregorio Di Maria at Castelvetrano. Unfortunately, the distribution of the wounds, and of the blood that flowed from them, indicate that Giuliano was killed elsewhere and was already dead when positioned in the courtyard. There are even those who hold that the body does not belong to the bandit but to a double, and that in fact Giuliano fled overseas under a false name, having covered his tracks in Spain, or Algeria, without ever returning to Italy.

  • Slaughter on Via Pipitone Federico, 1983

    Rocco Chinnici (1925-1983) entered the judiciary in 1952, holding several posts before being nominated investigating magistrate. His work and that of Antonino Caponnetto, who succeeded him, laid the groundwork for the Maxi trial of 1986. On July 29, 1983, a Fiat stuffed with TNT was blown up by remote control by Pino Greco. Aside from the many wounded, four people died in this slaughter on Via Pipitone Federico: Chinnici; two of his bodyguards, Mario Trapassi and Salvatore Bartolotta; and the concierge of his apartment house, Stefano Li Sacchi.