The late Pablo Escobar, famous for the wrong reasons, was regarded as the richest and most successful criminal in world history. In 1989, Forbes magazine declared Escobar as the seventh (7th) richest man in the world. He had an estimated personal fortune of US$9 billion then.
Pablo and his brother’s drug operational emporium were so successful that at its height they were spending US$1,000 a week just purchasing rubber bands to wrap the stacks of cash. As with many drug barons, they had more illegal money than they could deposit in the banks. They opted to store the bricks of cash in their warehouses, annually writing off 10% as “spoilage” when the rats crept in at night and nibbled on hundred US dollar bills.
The bloody leader was one of the most profitable of the Medellin drug gangs. Bribery, Corruption and intimidation characterized Escobar’s dealings with the Colombian system. He had devised an effective, inescapable policy in dealing with law enforcement, the government, and general citizenry which was referred to as “plata o plomo,” (literally silver or lead, colloquially [accept] money or [face] bullets). It has been well documented that Escobar bribed countless government officials, judges, and other politicians.
As expected, this weird policy of “silver-money or copper-bullet” resulted in the senseless deaths of hundreds of individuals, including civilians, police officers, state officials and innocent bystanders.
The “son of a gun” used banks and staff under duress to launder his gang’s cash. It is worth noting that money laundering represents the proceeds of some very unpleasant activities indeed and sources! Drugs, corruption, illegal arms deals and other serious predicated serious offenses.
Pablo Escobar is suspected to have money laundered between US$5-US$10 billion. His Punishment was confinement in what became his luxurious private prison for several months in 1992. He escaped after hearing he would be transferred to another prison and was killed soon after. Several such types will follow his modus operandi and his unpleasant and untimely end of his life.