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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.
Block and Weaver carefully assemble a vivid examination of the world of hot money in the arena of international banking and the roles played by Intelligence, the politically connected, and the criminally inclined. Focusing on the intensely private Genava banker Bruce Rappaport and the Bank of New York, the authors show how the two worked together with dodgy Russian banks to move and launder billions through channels that include off-shore banks, shady joint-ventures, and outright criminal organizations. Relying on primary sources from the logs of the institutions involved, interviews with British Intelligence operatives and former CIA officers, secret discussions with private detectives handling the infamous Marc Rich tax case, and material collected by two private detective agencies in London and New York, the book exposes the various machinations that were instrumental in completing the financial schemes that would ultimately cause the downfall of two top Bank of New York executives.