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Thursday, March 23, 2023

About oranges, orangeade, and “friends”

Piše: Petra Janša

In this strange time of searching for evidence of money laundering in the solar kingdom, I picked up the book by Paulo Coelho again, entitled The Winner is Alone.

It is a novel that very well reflects what is happening in today’s society. I already mentioned that Coelho, among other things, also involves the origin of the word “money laundering” in the story. We attribute this to the American gangster Al Capone, who bought the Sanitary Cleaning Shops chain in Chicago and used it to deposit in banks the money he earned by illegally selling drinks during Prohibition in the United States. That is right, if someone asked him why he was so rich, he could always say, “People are going to laundromats more than ever before. I am glad I invested in this industry.” Al Capone did everything right. The only thing he forgot to do was declare his company’s income tax.

And so, the novelistic police inspector Savoy discovered new-age methods of money laundering during his investigative work. Now you already know: “you take several oranges, make an orangeade, and serve it without anyone thinking about the origin of the fruit”. “‘Oranges’ are people who roam the casinos with money lent to them by a ‘friend’ in countries where betting control is much less than corruption: no one is forbidden to earn a great fortune. In this case, there are prior agreements with the owners, who keep some of the money that circulates on the tables. A player – someone who does not have a high income – can justify to his banker the next day a huge amount of money that he deposits into the account. Luck. The next day, he transfers almost all the money to the ‘friend’ who lent it to him and keeps the change himself.” Savoy wrote and continued that “it used to be the most popular purchase of restaurants – which could count a real fortune for their dishes and lay money into the account without being suspicious. Even if someone walked in and saw completely empty tables, it would be impossible to prove that no one had eaten there all day.” Do you understand? I will write about other, much more creative money laundering procedures in one of the following records. From the novel, of course.

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