Rudy Giuliani says mafia put $800,000 bounty on his head – but ex-New York mayor admits Islamist terrorists scare him more than the mob

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

69-year-old was a successful anti-mafia lawyer before entering politics

The Sicilian mafia offered to kill Rudy Giuliani for $800,000, the former Mayor of New York has revealed.

In a light-hearted exchange with Oprah Winfrey, the 69-year-old – who before entering politics was a hugely successful anti-mafia lawyer – joked that although the initial bounty was close to a million, a second mafiosi later placed a significantly lower $400,000 on his head towards the end of his two-term mayoralty.

The conversation took place as part of Winfrey’s ‘Where Are They Now?’ show, during which Giuliani admitted he had made many enemies among mafiosi thanks to his high-profile involvement in the mid-80s Mafia Commission Trial.

That trial saw eight of America’s most powerful mobsters sent to prison – including Genovese crime family front boss Anthony ‘Fat Tony Salerno’, and the bosses of the Lucchese and Colombo families - Anthony ‘Tony Ducks’ Corallo and Carmine ‘The Snake’ Persico respectively.

Speaking of that trial, Giuliani 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 than I did”.

Giuliani during the Mafia Commission Trial in 1986 Giuliani during the Mafia Commission Trial in 1986

The Sicilian mafia apparently offered to kill Giuliani in retaliation for the sentences - providing their American couterparts stump up a fee of $800,000.

Joking about the later, significantly reduced bounty on his head, which was allegedly placed around the millennium by a well-known gangster serving 100 years in prison, Giuliani laughed: “I kind of felt bad that I went down in value - I started at 800, I went down to 400”.

Giuliani pretends to be Vito Corleone during a Godfather-themed skit at the end of his New York mayoralty Giuliani pretends to be Vito Corleone during a Godfather-themed skit at the end of his New York mayoralty

Despite the threat of contract killers, Giuliani said that it isn’t the mafia that keeps him awake at night: his real concern is Islamic extremism.

Giuliani was Mayor of New York at the time of the September 11 attacks, rising to international prominence thanks to high-profile appearances from the scene and emotive speeches and interviews in the aftermath.

Comparing the threat from terrorists compared to those of the mob, Giuliani said: “When we start talking about Islamic extremist terrorism - that worries me more, because they are suicidal”.

He added: “Part of why I didn't worry about the Mafia was because there was a certain rationality to their kind of violence. This other kind of violence is completely irrational violence.”

Giuliani went on to say he was proud of the way New York coped in the aftermath of the September 11 attack., but admitted that for a long time after he “jumped” every time he heard a siren.

Giuliani during the September 11 attacks Giuliani during the September 11 attacks

Using New York’s recent tourism records as an example of the way visitors to the city are no longer excessively anxious about the threat of terrorism, Giuliani said: “Fifty million [visited New York last year], which shows you that even though we were attacked, even though there was threats of attacks, people know how to process it correctly.”

He added: “They realize it's a small, small risk in comparison to the wonderful things you can do here.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there