THE SKIM

Meyer Lansky at the Hotel Nacional in Havana secretly photographed for Life Magazine in 1958, just before it all came crashing down for the mob in Cuba.  Lansky was reported to be carrying several hundred K in the bag, his share of the skim from the casino at the Nacional, which he controlled.



Lansky was the guy Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista (above) brought in to clean up the casinos in Havana, which used to be cheap clip joints avoided by the high rollers.  Lansky knew you had to run honest games to attract the real players.  Disposing of the profits could be handled in less above-board ways.  Batista and various other government officials got their share, Lansky and his underworld associates got their share — there was probably just enough left over to pay modest salaries to the nominal “owners” of the casinos.

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