I’ve recently finished The Merger: The Conglomeration of International Organized Crime, which profiles the history of organized crime in the last 30 years as it became global, and the failure of the best law enforcement agencies in the world to stop them.
The Merger delves into the now global world of organized crime, describing first the particular characteristics of each group, and then how they managed to get connected. In the end, it’s all about the money. Money laundering has driven more otherwise competitive criminals to link up for the purpose of hiding their revenue more than any other money-making opportunity. And by the looks of it in the book, it’s both easy and growing.
That doesn’t mean, of course, that law enforcement is asleep at the wheel. But the criminals described in this book transcend national borders in coordinating their actions with an ease that would make any Interpol agent envious. With national sovereignty a recognized principle throughout the world, the world’s criminals simply shop for the best venue in which to headquarter their actions, and only move if the local authorities get tired of the bribes they get in exchange for not turning them over to another country’s police.
I enjoyed all of The Merger, but especially the first chapter. It’s description of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay’s largest open-air criminal marketplace had me hooked for the rest of the text. The subsequent chronology had me interested non-stop from there. Profiling everyone from the enthusiastic Russian mob heavies (“They don’t just kill you, they kill your whole family”), to the smooth-talking Nigerian con artists who still perpetrate their scams today under the nose of the US Postal Service, the book provides insights as to how organized crime has infiltrated every facet of today’s modern world. Most interesting is the way in which the Russians have infiltrated Israeli politics, as Russian gangsters bought phony Jewish passports and emigrated to Israel under the “threat of religious perscution”.
Although the 300+ page book does slow down in the 100 pages, it’s well worth picking up, and will leave you smarter about what’s really going on behind the multinational crime stories you read about in the paper.
Buy this book at Amazon.Com through this link and make 3Mouths editors very happy.