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Meyer Lansky

Maier Suchowjanski (1902 - May 15, 1983), better known as Meyer Lansky, was a Russian born gangster of Jewish parents.

Lanky's family moved to the United States in 1911, and settled in New York. While Lansky was in school, he met a young Lucky Luciano, who got paid by kids for protection. When Lansky refused to pay, Luciano and him engaged in a fight. Seeing as they were both equally tough to beat, out of that fight, they garnered respect and created a bond that would make them friends for life.

Lansky met Bugsy Siegel in 1920. They also became friends for life and, together with Luciano, formed part of what became known as the Five Points Gang. Lansky was instrumental in Luciano's rise to power, when he helped in the killing in 1931 of his boss, Joe The Boss Masseria[?], and then, later on, he told Luciano of Salvatore Maranzano's (the other major New York mafia boss of the time) plans to kill Luciano and Vito Genovese[?], alerting the pair of the danger looming ahead and provocking them to kill Maranzano first. As a younster, Lansky's life was saved many times by Siegel, a fact Lansky always appreciated.

Lansky established gambling operations in Florida, New Orleans and Cuba by 1936, the year Luciano was convicted and sent to jail. He also became a big investor in Siegel's Las Vegas project. After Luciano was paroled on the condition that he fly back to Sicily and never leave Italy, he secretly snuck out to Cuba, from where he began to lead the American mafia operations. Siegel's projects in Las Vegas were failing miserably and all mafia bosses, Lansky included, were called for a secret meeting at Havana. While everyone else wanted Siegel killed, Lansky begged for a second chance for his friend. He was able to persuade the bosses to give Siegel a second chance, but Siegel's casino kept on losing money and a second meeting was called. This time the casino was able to turn in a small profit during the month of their second meeting, and that, together with Lansky's pleads and Luciano's hopes that their old friend could still do good in Vegas, convinced them to give Siegel a third chance. But that small profit turned out to be only a small hurrah, and, after a third meeting in Cuba, despite Lansky's insisting that they give Siegel another chance, an order was carried out to kill Siegel, which happened in 1947.

Later on, during the 1960s, Lansky became involved in drug smuggling[?], prostitution, extortion, investing in hotels and golf courses. It is said that he made around 300 million dollars from those investments. Luciano was unhappy with the fact Lansky was gaining more money than he was, but because of Luciano's bad health, he wasn't able to do much about it.

In the 1970s, Lansky faced tax evasion charges. Upon learning of his impending law problems, he fled to Israel, where he lived for three years before getting caught and returned to the United States. He served time and was released shortly after.

Lansky died of lung cancer, leaving a fortune of over 400 million dollars behind.

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