All Is Clouded by Desire: Global Banking, Money Laundering, and International Organized Crime

All Is Clouded by Desire: Global Banking, Money Laundering, and International Organized Crime

All Is Clouded by Desire: Global Banking, Money Laundering, and International Organized Crime

All Is Clouded by Desire: Global Banking, Money Laundering, and International Organized Crime

Synopsis

Before Enron, before Arthur Anderson, and before Worldcom, there was the Bank of New York money laundering scandal, which hit headlines in 1999. Promising to be one of the most important books on international organized crime, money laundering, and the complicity between legitimate and illegitimate businesses in both the United States and the former Soviet Union, among other places, during the last decade of the 20th century, All Is Clouded by Desire examines the criminal dealings that led to the revelation that the Bank of New York's Eastern European Division laundered $6 billion for Russian organized criminals and other shady organizations and individuals. In a series of intrigues that involved crooked Geneva banker Bruce Rappaport and high-level members of the Bank of New York, criminal Russian organizations were able to thrive and prosper during a time when the rest of the former Soviet Union crumbled amidst growing corruption and a declining economy. Tracing the financial shenanigans back many years, Block and Weaver illustrate how the underworld of high finance, money laundering, mafia groups, CIA operatives, and legitimate banking institutions can clean dirty money and operate criminal enterprises that span the globe.

Excerpt

As is often the case, this project came about by pure happenstance. In the early 1990s, an especially adroit journalist friend, Ira Silverman, who was then a senior producer at NBC News, suggested that we might find it interesting to take a close look at the affairs of Mr. Bruce Rappaport, a Geneva banker. Ira hinted that Rappaport was very close to American and Israeli intelligence and had been involved in numerous high-profile international scandals, and there were ongoing investigations into his questionable little banks in Antigua. At the time, Ira was examining Rappaport's involvement with Gaith Pharaon, a prominent figure in the infamous Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) debacle. And, thus it began.

In a serendipitous meeting with another friend, A. J. Woolston-Smith (Smitty), an investigator for the New York State Assembly, we mentioned our budding interest in Bruce Rappaport. As luck would have it, during the 1970s, Smitty had been part of an investigation by the British detective firm Q-MEN, looking into Bruce Rappaport's gargantuan rip-off of the Indonesian state-owned oil company, Pertamina. This caper seriously undermined the economy of Indonesia while making millions for the perpetrators. In addition to suggesting potential leads, Smitty turned over all his notes and documents relating to the case, giving us the first close look at some of the activities of Mr. Rappaport. In 1993, while traveling in Europe, we contacted several Swiss journalists who agreed to discuss Bruce Rappaport and his bank. We learned that Rappaport had a bad reputation in Geneva and that his bank had been under a cloud with the Swiss banking authorities.

On a visit to Geneva in the summer of that same year, we had time to spare before our train departed, so we stopped by The Bank of New York-Inter Maritime Bank to see whether we just might be able to meet with

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