The infamous Canadian hijacker has spent the better part of his life behind bars. But it could have been a lot different. Earlier this month, Nexia BT managing partner Brian Tonna told this newspaper that Cini is being interrogated for his role in the Mossack Fonseca offshore set ups of minister Konrad Mizzi and chief of staff Keith Schembri. Cini allegedly took money from a number of people and promised to pay them back once he got the funds from abroad. He never paid them back and when they complained, they were reported to the police and Cini was charged with fraud.
In September 1970, Cini was downing shots of vodka in his Victoria apartment when he watched a television news report on a failed plane hijacking for ransom. Despite being in the midst of his own boozy stupor, his alcohol-fuzzed mind managed to produce an epiphany: Hijacking a plane for fame was the way to go. He packed his sawed-off shotgun, dynamite, sheepskin rope, collapsible shovel, pup tent, candy bars and hiking boots into his luggage and boarded Flight 812 in Calgary.
When the plane reached Great Falls, Montana, Cini ordered the pilot to open one of the emergency exits so he could jump and escape to freedom in the wilderness. But when he tried to untie the twine that wrapped his parachute, he realized that he had tied the knot too tightly and was stuck in the sky.