Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sources say Montreal mafia used informant list as bargaining chip

The list of police informants stolen by a retired intelligence officer in the Montreal police force was used as a bargaining chip by mafia lawyers to get reduced sentences for their clients, according to a source close to the investigation.
The source told The Gazette that retired police officer Ian Davidson, who was found dead in a Laval hotel room with his throat cut, had tried to shop the list of 2,000 informants to the mafia.
He said police were able to seize the list and claimed that no informant names were compromised.
According to the coroner's report, Davidson's death was a suicide. His body was found by a maid at the Hotel Chateauneuf near the Laurentian Autoroute. Davidson lived in Laval.
Police arrested Davidson in October at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport just before he boarded a flight to Costa Rico. They found the list on his computer. He was later released without charges.
Former Montreal police chief Jacques Duchesneau remembered Davidson as an honest guy.
"I worked with the guy in the early 80s and he was one of the safest guys I worked with."
But, he said, "good people do bad things."
He recalled when he had to arrest his own boss, Henri Marchessault, in 1983 for drug trafficking.
"If you had told me before that my boss was a drug dealer, I would have laughed at you," he said.
Duchesneau served as Montreal police chief from 1993 to 1998. He said the police department has to have the right security systems in place to ensure that when this happens the damage is minimal. He said Davidson's theft of the informant list shows a serious flaw in the security system. He questioned the wisdom on entering the informant list into a computer system.
He said the computer can be hacked or the list copied with a simple USB key.
He said it was Davidson's job to compile an encrypted list of informants.
"That was the weakest point as far as I'm concerned," he said. "One person making the whole list and having access to the same list through a computer or a USB key. That's dangerous. But I can tell you that I spoke with the chief yesterday, and there have already been some major changes in order to prevent that."
Aside from Davidson, only the head of intelligence and the police chief knew who was on the list and had access to it, he said.
He said that in his day the list of coded informants was kept in a book, which was inside a sealed envelope locked in his office safe. He said he could have access to the book only if a witness was present. Both he and the witness had to sign the envelope.
"I usually used my lawyer (as witness)," he said.
He said that when a detective gets an informant, he gives the informant a numeric code which was then entered into the book. From then on the informant's name is never used. He or she is referred to in reports only by the number.
"The chief has to know (the name) because there are payments made to these informers," Duchesneau said.
"So someone has to know the name. Some police would pretend that they were giving money to informers but actually they would keep the money. I fired people myself who were doing that. There needs to be checks and balances and that is why the chief has to know who the payments are made to."
Once an informant's name is in the book it is never removed.
"An informer from 1985 is still registered even though he is dead because reports do not mention names. So if you take a 1990 report and only have the number you don't have the name and you need to contact that person. Someone has to know who that person is."
Some media reports claim that informants with other forces including the RCMP were compromised by Davidson. Duchesneau said that the RCMP would never disclose their sources to any other police force.
"The RCMP will disclose the information that they have but never ever have I seen them giving names," he said. "It is not in their culture. To me, that does not make sense."


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