Mafia put 'bounty' on head of ex-mayor Giuliani
Published 01/03/2014 | 02:30
The Italian mafia plotted to murder Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, a turncoat has told investigators.
The assassination was ordered by Toto 'The Beast' Riina, the then head of Cosa Nostra in Sicily and one of the most feared mafia godfathers.
The plan was drawn up in the mid-1980s when Mr Giuliani was working as a federal prosecutor, before he was elected mayor of New York City in 1994.
The mafia was alarmed that Giuliani was forging close links with anti-mafia prosecutors in Italy, including Giovanni Falcone.
Falcone paid dearly for his investigations into organised crime in southern Italy – he was blown up in 1992 by a massive roadside bomb outside Palermo, the Sicilian regional capital.
The claims were made to Italian investigators this week by Rosario Naimo, a mafia "pentito" or informant, who allegedly acted as a middle-man between Cosa Nostra and its interests in the US.
He was interviewed in recent days at a secret location by prosecutors based in Palermo.
He said that Riina sent a message to him in the mid-1980s, ordering him to approach the Gambinos, the New York crime family, and ask for their permission to kill Mr Giuliani, who had established a reputation for aggressive investigations into organised crime in New York.
Naimo said the plan was never acted upon because he warned Riina that if Mr Giuliani was murdered, the American authorities would "annihilate the mafia".
The account by Naimo appears to corroborate claims made recently by Mr Giuliani that the mafia put out an $800,000 bounty on his head, although he maintained that the threat to his life came after he was made mayor.
Mr Giuliani (69), whose grandparents were Italian immigrants, told Oprah Winfrey on her cable TV channel in November that the contract was put out during his first year in office.
"They offered $800,000 to kill me. Then, toward the end of the time I was the mayor, a particular mafia guy who we convicted and put in jail for 100 years put out a contract to kill me for $400,000."
The former Republican politician, who was named 'Time' magazine's Person of the Year in 2001 for the leadership he showed during and after the September 11 terrorist attack in 2001 on the Twin Towers, joked: "I kind of felt bad that I went down in value. I started at 800, I went down to 400."
He was targeted because of his work as a US Attorney, he said.
"I don't think anybody prosecuted more mafia members than I did. Certainly, no one sent them to prison for the lengthy periods of time that I did." The law finally caught up with Riina, who was the "boss of bosses" of Cosa Nostra. He has been in prison for murder and other crimes since 1993.
But he continues to make threats from behind bars against the current generation of anti-mafia prosecutors, (©Daily Telegraph, London)