The founder of Canadian dairy giant Saputo has slammed allegations that he is linked to the Italian Mafia.

Lino Saputo, 70, who is still the company's chairman, is facing claims that he is linked to Italian Mariano Turrisi, who has been arrested over an alleged C$600m (US$587m) money laundering scam.

Reports in Italy claim that, in a recorded conversation, Turrisi discusses "the king of cheese" with another suspect who was arrested by Italian authorities.

When contacted by just-food today (13 December), Saputo, Canada's largest dairy processor, issues a statement protesting its founder's innocence.

"Mr. Saputo vigorously contests the contents of the articles as well as any allegations and insinuations with respect to any involvement, or that of his family and businesses, with criminal activities and/or organizations," the company said.