Monday, June 29, 2009

Bernier's Ex Also had Ties to the Montreal Mafia

You can see why Maxime Bernier got involved with Julie Couillard, but was he targeted by her family and friends as an easy dupe?

There's no bigger gift to the shady underworld types then a moron in a key government post that includes classified information on one the biggest drug exporters, if not the biggest, in the world.

With no blood left in his brain, that empty head didn't have a clue that maybe he was being used. She's now playing the innocent, but when you look at all the ties that bind; it paints a far different picture.

Let's start with her connection to the Montreal mafia.

Couillard linked to Mafioso
Tories Stay Silent
David Akin,
National Post
June 04, 2008

OTTAWA - Conservative MPs will not testify at a House of Commons committee probing the resignation of Maxime Bernier, who stepped down as foreign affairs minister last week after admitting he left classified government documents at a former girlfriend's house.

"Neither Maxime Bernier nor any government MPs will engage in this political circus," said a senior government source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The decision could rob the committee of the chance to question many of the major figures in the affair. The standing committee on public safety and national security, the majority of whose members are opposition MPs, had hoped to grill several government members, including Mr. Bernier, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day.

No MP can be legally compelled to testify in front of a Commons committee. Hearings are to begin June 10. The committee may still hear from Julie Couillard, Mr. Bernier's former girlfriend, who has not been seen in Ottawa since his resignation but earlier indicated she would be willing to testify.

Details of Ms. Couillard's controversial past continued to emerge yesterday, when La Presse reported she was romantically linked in the early 1990s to Tony Volpato, a close friend of Mafia leader Frank Cotroni.

Ms. Couillard was in her early 20's. Volpato was nearly twice her age.

At the time, Volpato was under investigation for cigarette smuggling involving the Kahnawake Indian reserve, La Presse reported. He was found guilty in 1997 and fined $8,000 in connection with the affair.

That same year, he was sentenced to six years in prison for his role in a conspiracy to import 180 kilograms of cocaine.

Ms. Couillard had previously been linked to a number of motorcycle gang members. Her first love, Gilles Giguere, was killed in a gangland execution three months before the couple was to marry. Mr. Giguere was the right-hand man of loan-shark Robert Savard, a close friend of Quebec Hells Angels boss Maurice Boucher.

She later married and divorced Stephane Sirois, a member of the Rockers, a Hells Angels puppet gang. He would became a Crown witness against his former associates. A third partner of Ms. Couillard's, Robert Pepin, hanged himself last May after becoming heavily indebted to loan sharks linked to the underworld.

Opposition MPs maintain the government should have known of Ms. Couillard's past, and should investigate the possibility of a security breach during her relationship with Mr. Bernier.

Serge Menard, Bloc Quebecois MP and former justice and public security minister in Quebec, said it is "implausible" that police or security services never alerted anyone in the government about Ms. Couillard's past relationships.

Mr. Menard said that kind of information is kept in databases kept by police forces and a simple check could have alerted authorities to a possible problem. He said he is contemplating calling for that information to be tabled at the committee hearing.

About the time of his reported liaisons with Ms. Couillard, Volpato was meeting with significant underworld figures, including Vito Rizzuto, the powerful boss of the Mafia in Montreal.

In a series of photographs secretly taken by police in July, 1991, Volpato is seen with both Rizzuto, who is now serving a 10-year sentence in the United States for killing three rival gangsters, and Juan Ramon Fernandez, a career criminal who was Rizzuto's close confidant and much-feared enforcer.

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