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The Infiltrator: My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks Behind Pablo Escobar's MedellĂ­n Cartel Reviewed By Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com
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Norm Goldman


Reviewer & Author Interviewer, Norm Goldman. Norm is the Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com.

He has been reviewing books for the past fifteen years when he retired from the legal profession.

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By Norm Goldman
Published on July 8, 2013
 

Author: Robert Mazur

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
ISBN: 978-0-316-07753-8




Author: Robert Mazur

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
ISBN: 978-0-316-07753-8

During the course of five years in the late 1980s and early 1990s Robert Mazur transformed himself and became Bob Musella, an undercover agent that gained the trust and confidence of some of the most notorious Colombian drug dealers. It was this trust that enabled him to convince these czars to place their monies with the Bank of Credit & Commerce International (BCCI).

BCCI was a major international financial institution founded by Agha Hasan Abedi, a Pakistani financier. At its peak it was known to be the 7th largest private bank in the world by assets. Many of the bank's important executives were not the least squeamish in laundering dirty money which included substantial sums derived from Colombian drug lords.

In The Infiltrator: My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks Behind Pablo Escobar's Medellín Cartel Mazur gives us a blow-by-blow report as to how he infiltrated the drug cartel as well as the board room of BCCI which eventually led to several criminal prosecutions and convictions.

Mazur realized early on in his quest to bring down the big boys in Colombia that the Achilles' heel of the drug trade was the banks that willingly opened their doors to dirty money turning a blind eye as to the derivation of the vast sums involved and adopting the attitude hear no evil see no evil.

The challenges faced by Mazur were two fold. Firstly, he had to convince renowned drug traffickers to give him millions of their cash to invest on their behalf without revealing that he was a federal agent. Secondly, he needed a nefarious financial institution as BCCI to accept and launder the funds.

This was a tall order as these so called businessmen were a very suspicious lot that were constantly on guard for a possible sting operation. One misstep and it was all over for Mazur. In addition, there had to be substantial evidence concerning BCCI's executives that they were fully aware they were dealing with drug money, otherwise there would not be a very strong case that would convict many of the high ranking officers of BCCI.

To secure this “bullet proof” evidence Mazur turned into an information junkie running from one target to another secretly recording hundreds of conversations with traffickers and money launderers. The result was the collection of an impressive number of documents that were eventually used to trace illicit funds to their beneficial owners.

After reading this mind blowing narrative I had to shake my head and wonder if Mazur was off his rocker to take on this assignment or a brave soul. In fact, towards the end of the book he mentions that it had occurred to him that when it would be all over and the bad guys were behind bars, his life would not be worth too much and he would be forced to live a life underground.

With this in mind, you have to wonder was it all worth it? Is the war on drugs “bogus” where the majority of the millions of jailed people in the USA are incarcerated for small-time offenses, whereas there still exists corrupt financial institutions in the USA as well as elsewhere that carry on where BCCI left off and unfortunately none of their executives are prosecuted. Case in point, Wachovia Bank that went under in the great financial debacle of 2008. Wachovia was found guilty in 2010 of laundering billions of drug money from 2004-07 for Mexican drug cartels. Did any of the executives of this bank spend time in prison? Not one!

Mazur has provided us with a thorough, informative and scintillating memoir that is not easy to put down. He even includes a very useful Glossary of Names that I had to refer to from time-to-time to figure out who he was talking about. And finally, I must commend him for his candor and willingness to share his experiences.

Follow Here To Read Norm's Interview With Robert Mazur


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