U.S. most-wanted hunt moves to UK

LONDON, England (CNN) — FBI agents hunting America’s most wanted gangster have flown to London to meet with Scotland Yard detectives as the hunt for crime boss James J. Bulger focuses on Europe.

Bulger, alleged former leader of the Winter Hill gang in Boston, has been on the run since January of 1995 after he was indicted for 18 counts of murder. Earlier this year a man meeting his description was spotted in Sicily, Italy.

London’s Metropolitan Police confirmed FBI agents had met this week with an officer from its Extradition and International Relations Unit.

The FBI Web site, which lists Bulger just beneath Osama bin Laden, says the Irish-American gangster also wanted on extortion, drug and money laundering charges linked to organized crime in the Boston, Mass. area.

He “is being sought for his role in numerous murders committed from the early 1970s through the mid-1980s in connection with his leadership of an organized crime group,” the Web site says.

Bulger, now aged 78, has a violent temper, is known to carry a knife and is considered “extremely dangerous,” the Web site warns.

The Web site also carries a video of a man suspected to be Bulger, who goes by the nickname “Whitey,” walking around with a younger woman.

Agents are currently trying to establish whether the couple filmed in Taormina, Sicily on April 10 are Bulger and his female companion Catherine Greig.

Along with Greig, Bulger is known to have traveled throughout the United States and Europe after his indictment, the FBI statement said. “Bulger planned for his life on the run by placing large sums of cash in safe deposit boxes domestically and internationally.”

Safe deposit boxes were found in Clearwater, Florida., in 2001; in Ireland and England in 2002; and in Montreal, Canada, in 2003, authorities said. “It is believed that other safe deposit boxes exist in other locations.”

A reward of up to $1 million is offered for information leading directly to Bulger’s arrest, the FBI said.

Last year, an ex-FBI agent already convicted on charges related to Bulger was indicted on additional first-degree murder charges. John Connolly is currently serving 10 years in prison in North Carolina. He was convicted in 2002 under RICO for tipping Bulger and now-convicted hit man Stephen “The Rifleman” Fleming about a racketeering indictment.

In 2005, Connolly was charged in the August 1982 murder of Boston accountant John Callahan, said to be linked to the Winter Hill gang. Law enforcement sources said Connolly, then an FBI agent, provided the information to the Winter Hill gang that Callahan was acting as an FBI informant and had to be “taken out.”

Flemmi has confessed to being the trigger man in Callahan’s murder and 10 others in Boston and Oklahoma.

In 2003, Bulger’s brother, William M. Bulger, resigned as president of the University of Massachusetts after pressure over his role in the investigation of his brother.

In testimony before a congressional committee in June 2003, William Bulger admitted speaking to his brother after he fled, but denied knowledge of his whereabouts or alleged criminal activity.

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