This is the story of organized crime's penetration of the islands and the corruption of its high officials during the time The Bahamas become politically independent of Great Britain. It describes secret U.S. Internal Revenue Service operations aimed at American criminals involved in Bahamian-based tax scams and similar crimes. Block paints a devastating picture of a symbiotic relationship among off-shore tax havens in The Bahamas, sophisticated American criminals, and complacent public officials in the United States. During the 1960s and 1970s, the I.R.S. launched major investigations into American organized crime and the subterranean economy of The Bahamas. Block's access to the private papers of many of the key players in these affairs has given him a unique perspective. He has uncovered details of crime, corruption, and bureaucratic infighting within and among the U.S. Treasury and Justice Departments that have been largely unrecognized by previous researchers. Block shows how important links in the international traffic in cocaine were forged in the Bahamas, in full view of American officials. Masters of Paradise raises major questions about American law enforcement officials' commitment to fighting complex international crime during the 1960s and the 1970s. While there have been other studies of tax havens, money laundering, and offshore investigations, Block's access to information and his grasp of its meaning is unique. Professionals interested in the history and sociology of organized crime and the underground economy will find this book eye-opening. General readers interested in organized crime and political corruption will find it absorbing.
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"[H]is story is fascinating and important. . . . Almost as compelling as Block's story is his masterful command of the documentation. . . . He has culled obscure tax court cases, used the files of Bahamian investigators, unearthed old IRS memos and interviewed retired federal agents." --Jonathan Marshall, San Francisco Chronicle "Block's scholarly research and writing style add weight to his judgments about the heroes and villains in the decline and fall of one of the nation's premier mob-fighting cadres." --James Savage, Miami Herald "Block takes the reader on a fascinating tour through the Bahamas underground economy, pumped by millions of dollars escaping U.S. tax laws." --Times of the Americas "Block succeeds and writes with vigor and authority on devilishly complicated scams and immensely financed ties of clientelism that bound bent lawyers and gangsters together in secret, deadly pacts." --Gary Brana-Shute, New West Indian Guide
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