EVIL MONEY by Rachel Ehrenfeld


Encounters Along the Money Trail
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 Ehrenfeld, a research scholar at NYU Law School and author of Narcoterrorism (1990), ineffectively details several major cases involving money laundering and governmental corruption. In 1981, Ehrenfeld says, Los Angeles banks reported a $341 million cash surplus. In 1991, after L.A. became a money-laundering center, this increased to $5 billion--and Miami and Atlanta banks experienced similar cash booms. Here, the author maps the connection between cash and corruption, outlining three extended case histories, and several shorter ones, that show how this availability of cash has corrupted bank officials--and even whole governments, as with Lyndon Pindling's regime in the Bahamas. Colombia has become a ``narcocracy,'' contends Ehrenfeld, who offers examples of former American officials involved in money laundering. She also examines the case of Elizabeth Kopp, a former Swiss minister of justice forced to resign because she warned her husband that his company was under investigation for money laundering. Ehrenfeld is apparently an expert on this sort of exposÇ, but her expertise rarely shines through the mass of rather diffuse detail. The chapters are of highly irregular quality: that on Pindling seems secondhand, and, in the Swiss section, Ehrenfeld puts herself in the narrative, often giving her personal opinion on matters that should be dealt with more substantively. She seems to disdain any but the most perfunctory characterization and has an unerring eye for the banal detail: A salmon served by the Kopps ``tasted as good as it looked.'' Ehrenfeld seems more interested, and readers will be too, when she outlines links between BCCI, oil money, the Abu Nidal organization, and South American narcoterrorists or guerrilla groups such as Peru's Shining Path. Lifeless and uneven, padded with platitudes (``drug- trafficking is an evil acknowledged by all nations'') and minutia.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-88730-560-1
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1992


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