Feature Articles

September 2000

Round Up The Usual Suspects

By John William Tuohy

John William Tuohy is a writer who lives in Washingon, D.C.

compiled by John William Tuohy

NEW JERSEY: The population of the town of town of Harrison, New Jersey, doubled this past weekend 14,000 people when producers of ``The Sopranos'' television crime drama held an audition there.

     Police in Harrison, which has 13,425 residents, called in 150 officers from communities including Newark, East Orange, Lyndhurst and Kearny to help control the mob.

     The auditioning ended after 5,000 people were let into Harrison High School to try out on a makeshift stage.

GENEVA: A Swiss court has ordered officials there to pay $480,000 in damages to a Russian businessman for jailing him 778 as a suspected leader of the Russian Mafia.

     Sergei Mikhailov, of Moscow, was cleared by a Geneva court in December 1998 of charges of being a leader of the Solntsevo criminal gang following a high-profile trial.

     Switzerland is the home to hundreds of so-called ``new rich'' Russians have settled since the 1991 collapse of communism.

TOKYO: The Tokyo Stock Exchange has joined the national police to bar companies linked to gangsters from listing on the exchange. Under the agreement, the exchange would ask police to investigate shareholders, managers and clients of companies that applied to list.

CAYMAN ISLANDS: The government here has passed four anti-money-laundering bills in an effort to confront scrutiny by international financial regulatory agencies and the U.S. Government.

     The bills were hurried through parliament amoung loud objections from some members of parliament that they were not given enough time to examine or debate the bills.

     The move came just one week after the U.S. Treasury Department issued an ``advisory'' to U.S. banks about the Caymans' lack of money-laundering regulation, and one month after the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a Group of Seven (G7) watchdog, listed the country as lacking in financial controls to deal with criminal money-laundering.

     The Cayman Islands, a tiny British territory in the Caribbean, is the world's fifth-largest banking center with more than $500 billion of assets at its 590 banks and trust companies.

Mr. Tuohy can be reached at

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