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Things you might not know about Meyer Lansky, the Mafia financier and math genius

Tijana Radeska
Meyer Lansky

Meyer Lansky was born “Maier Suchowljansky” in Poland before his family emigrated to the States.

Meyer Lansky in 1958

Meyer Lansky in 1958

As a child, Lansky was a mathematical prodigy, an ability which he later used in the gambling world.

Lansky and Bugsy Siegel were lifelong friends and partners in crimes. Siegel saved Lansky’s life a few times, for which Lansky was eternally grateful. The two established the Bugs and Meyer Mob, and later befriended with Lucky Luciano. Together, they created the “National Crime Syndicate” of the United States. Scroll down for the gangster video

Mugshot of Jewish-American mobster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel in the 1920s.

Mugshot of Jewish-American mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel in the 1920s.

Known as “the Mob’s Accountant,” Lansky was one of the greatest criminal organizers of his time. He was a member of the Jewish Mob and hold good relations with the Italian Mafia. His bootlegging and gambling businesses blossomed during the Prohibition period and allowed him to create an empire.

Lucky Luciano in 1948

Lucky Luciano in 1948

Lansky built a gambling empire which spread from Las Vegas to Cuba and stretched across the Atlantic to London. He lost his holdings in Cuba after Fidel Castro came to power in 1959.

Lansky’s deep understanding of mathematics meant he had the technical expertise to keep this vast empire running efficiently.

When Al Capone was arrested for tax evasion Lansky realized that he could easily be next, so he set up a system to launder his money in offshore Swiss bank accounts.

During World War II, Lansky was also instrumental in helping the Office of Naval Intelligence’s Operation Underworld, in which the government recruited criminals to help combat German infiltrators and submarine-borne saboteurs.

Meyer Lansky

Meyer Lansky

Fearing prosecution for various offenses, in 1970 Lansky attempted to retire and immigrate to Israel, aiming to use the country’s Law of the Return, which grants citizenship to anyone of Jewish heritage. But after two years, his application for permanent residency was rejected due to his criminal record, and he was deported to the United States.

He got back to the States in 1972 and was arrested upon his arrival in Miami. However, due to his poor health and severe illness, he was allowed to return home on compassionate grounds.

Even though Lansky was the conspirator of various murders, and even though he might well have laundered more money than Capone, Dillinger, and Floyd combined, all he was convicted of was illegal gambling.

He died in January 1983 in Miami Beach.#