“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Money Follows You

There were many reasons why I enjoyed Conor Fitzgerald’s THE NAMESAKE earlier this year, said tome being the third in a series to feature the Rome-based Commissario Blume. One of the reasons was the light shed on the world of the Calabrian organisation the N’drangheta, a mafia that is far more low-key than similar outfits operating further north in Italy.
  One claim in particular caught my eye, when one of the characters announces that it was cash from the N’drangheta’s reserves that essentially kept Italy from going bankrupt during the banking crisis of 2008.
  Preposterous? Well, it certainly sounds dramatic. But here’s a quote from a very fine piece published in the New York Times last Sunday:
Many of the illicit transactions preceded the 2008 crisis, but continuing turmoil in the banking industry created an opening for organized crime groups, enabling them to enrich themselves and grow in strength. In 2009, Antonio Maria Costa, an Italian economist who then led the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, told the British newspaper The Observer that “in many instances, the money from drugs was the only liquid investment capital” available to some banks at the height of the crisis. “Interbank loans were funded by money that originated from the drugs trade and other illegal activities,” he said. “There were signs that some banks were rescued that way.”
  For the rest of the piece, which is titled, ‘Where the Mob Keeps Its Money’, clickety-click here

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