MEYER LANSKY Biography - Crimes, Laws and people


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Meyer Lansky was born in Grodno, Russia (now Hrodna, Belarus) to Jewish parents       
(Father: Max Suchowljansky; Mother: Yetta Lansky). In 1911, his family emigrated     
to the United States and settled on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York.       
While Lansky was in school, he met young Lucky Luciano who tried to shake him         
down (extort money from Lansky). When Lansky refused to pay, Luciano was             
impressed with the younger boy's bravery; the two boys became friends for life.       
Lansky met Bugsy Siegel when he was a teenager. They also became lifelong             
friends and, together with Luciano, formed a lasting partnership. Lansky was         
instrumental in Luciano's rise to power by organizing the 1931 murder of mafia       
powerhouse Salvatore Maranzano. As a youngster, Siegel saved Lansky's life           
several times, a fact Lansky always appreciated. The two of them adroitly             
managed the Bugs and Meyer Mob despite its reputation as one of the most violent     
Prohibition mobs.                                                                     
By 1936, Lansky had established gambling operations in Florida, New Orleans, and     
Cuba. This was the same year that his partner Luciano was sent to prison. As         
Alfred McCoy records,                                                                 
"During the 1930s, Meyer Lansky "discovered" the Caribbean for northeastern           
syndicate bosses and invested their illegal profits in an assortment of               
lucrative gambling ventures... He was also reportedly responsible for organized       
crime's decision to declare Miami a "free city" (i.e., not subject to the usual       
rules of territorial monopoly)."[citation needed]                                     
Later on, Lansky also became a big investor in Siegel's Flamingo Hotel project       
in Las Vegas.                                                                         
After Al Capone's 1931 conviction for tax evasion, Lansky realized his own           
vulnerability to tax evasion prosecution. In response, he transferred illegal         
funds from his casinos to Europe, where he opened up a numbered bank account         
following the 1934 Swiss Banking Act.[citation needed] Later, according to Lucy       
Komisar, Lansky would even buy an offshore bank in Switzerland, which he used         
for money laundering through a network of shell and holding companies. ("Offshore     
Banking: The Secret Threat to America," Dissent, Spring 2003)