By: Petra Janša
I remember years ago someone recommended me a book by Paul Coelho entitled The Winner Stands Alone. Even though it is a novel, the content is supposed to reflect very well what is happening in today’s society.
“Coelho had a good whisperer,” commented a person who is well acquainted with the workings of the criminal underworld in the company of ambitious people who want to shine in this society. Summary of the novel. The protagonist, a modern-day Russian millionaire, once a professional soldier, Igor Malev comes to the Cannes Film Festival with one thought only – to regain the attention of his ex-wife Ewa. Igor is not interested in movies, rich producers, famous stars, top models or glitter and glamour. With trained composure beyond the bounds of madness, he sets out to kill several innocent people in 24 hours to tell his wife that he is ready to do anything for her. During the murderous march, the festival backstage and a whole range of characters, who accidentally cross Igor’s path and become participants in his project, are skilfully drawn for the readers. A world of splendour and misery, you might say.
In the search for the killer, the reader is also revealed a bunch of information on how the criminal underworld works. Among other things, we learn the origin of the word “money laundering”. We attribute this to American gangster Al Capone, who bought the Sanitary Cleaning Shops laundry chain in Chicago and used it to invest money in banks, which he earned by illegally selling drinks during the US Prohibition. So, if someone asked him why he was so rich, he could always say, “People go to the laundromats more than ever. I am happy to have invested in this industry.” Al Capone did the right thing. He only forgot to file his corporate income tax.
Today, criminals are always a few steps ahead of the authorities and the tax authorities. Now this works much more elegantly, sophisticatedly, and creatively, considering three clearly defined phases – distribution, concealment, and integration. You take several oranges, make an orangeade, and serve it without anyone suspecting the origin of the fruit. Do you understand?