By Nigel Blundell
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Extra info for The World's Most Evil Gangs
On 11 May 1920, Torrio arranged to meet his boss there to sign for a delivery of whiskey. As Colosimo waited in the empty restaurant, Al Capone stepped out of a phone booth and, acting on Torrio’s orders, shot Colosimo dead, then took his wallet to make the killing look like a robbery. Both Capone and Torrio mourned at Colosimo’s funeral – then took over his crime empire, added bootleg liquor to the criminal portfolio and set about amassing a fortune. The bloodshed had only just begun, however.
Their ill-gotten billions didn’t just evaporate; they were long ago laundered into legitimate businesses. And the pot still grows. The difference is that instead of seeing blood on the streets of the western world’s cities, the public now suffers a secret ‘taxation’ by the Mafia bloodsuckers. Sadly, of course, there are many crime centres of the world where blood still stains the city streets, and they are fully explored in this book. In the former Soviet Union an extraordinarily wealthy breed of super-crooks have carved up an entire country.
He arrived in Chicago to find that Torrio was not his own boss but under the thumb of an old-time Mafioso, ‘Big Jim’ Colosimo, who ran labour and extortion rackets as well as about 100 brothels in the city. The one business he did not seem to be involved in was bootlegging. At this time, Torrio fell out with Colosimo, not only over his lack of interest in the illicit booze trade but because he divorced his first wife, who happened to be Torrio’s aunt, and married a singer, Dale Winter. Colosimo and his new wife held court nightly at his restaurant on South Wabash Avenue, surrounded by minders as well as politicians and entertainers.