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Evil Money: Encounters Along the Money Trail Hardcover – June, 1992
The Amazon Book Review
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From Library Journal
Evil Money discusses the laundering of ill-gotten money, usually from drug trafficking via various routes (e.g., from offshore banks to U.S. banks by wire transfer). The problem, as Ehrenfeld, author of Narco-Terrorism ( LJ 10/1/90), points out, is that money laundering enables drug smugglers, mobsters, and others to legitimize their criminal proceeds and use them to expand operations, further corrupting the system. Ehrenfeld argues that Colombia has been so corrupted by illegal drugs that it is no longer a democracy but rather a drug-infested oligopoly, and she fears something similar might occur in the United States. The author documents her case by looking at money laundering in the Bahamas and its early connections with gangster Meyer Lansky. She closely examines the various drug cartels as well as the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) scandal, the subject of James Ring Adams and Douglas Frantz's A Full Service Bank ( LJ 3/1/92) and Mark Potts and others' Dirty Money ( LJ 5/1/92). However, she offers very few practical solutions that might correct the situation. Still, this is recommended for popular nonfiction collections in most public libraries.
- Richard Drezen, Merrill Lynch Lib., New York
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Ehrenfeld, a research scholar at NYU Law School and author of Narcoterrorism (1990), ineffectively details several major cases involving money laundering and governmental corruption. In 1981, Ehrenfeld says, Los Angeles banks reported a $341 million cash surplus. In 1991, after L.A. became a money-laundering center, this increased to $5 billion--and Miami and Atlanta banks experienced similar cash booms. Here, the author maps the connection between cash and corruption, outlining three extended case histories, and several shorter ones, that show how this availability of cash has corrupted bank officials--and even whole governments, as with Lyndon Pindling's regime in the Bahamas. Colombia has become a ``narcocracy,'' contends Ehrenfeld, who offers examples of former American officials involved in money laundering. She also examines the case of Elizabeth Kopp, a former Swiss minister of justice forced to resign because she warned her husband that his company was under investigation for money laundering. Ehrenfeld is apparently an expert on this sort of expos, but her expertise rarely shines through the mass of rather diffuse detail. The chapters are of highly irregular quality: that on Pindling seems secondhand, and, in the Swiss section, Ehrenfeld puts herself in the narrative, often giving her personal opinion on matters that should be dealt with more substantively. She seems to disdain any but the most perfunctory characterization and has an unerring eye for the banal detail: A salmon served by the Kopps ``tasted as good as it looked.'' Ehrenfeld seems more interested, and readers will be too, when she outlines links between BCCI, oil money, the Abu Nidal organization, and South American narcoterrorists or guerrilla groups such as Peru's Shining Path. Lifeless and uneven, padded with platitudes (``drug- trafficking is an evil acknowledged by all nations'') and minutia. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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