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He was known as "Mr Sin", yet despite his involvement in illegal gambling, sly grog, prostitution and money laundering for nearly sixty years, Abe Saffron faught the nick name most of his adult life. He spent hundreds and thousands of dollars on defamation suits trying to disprove what everyone except himself accepted. He was a crook.
MR SIN: THE ABE SAFFRON DOSSIER chronicles Abe Saffron's life as a major underworld figure in Sydney.
Journalist Tony Reeves spent nearly 40 years of his working life charting the doings of Abe Saffron. He was regarded as one of the foremost authories on Saffron. MR SIN is the end result of his observations.
Reeves details Saffron's involvement in crime and how he built up around himself through a combination of bribery and blackmail, a wall of legal, law-enforcement and political figures who ensured his protection from prosecution for decades.
The most fascinating part of MR SIN is not the corruption. It is the extent of it and how blatant it was. Many involved made little or no effort to cover up the fact they were taking payments from Saffron and his enterprise.
Saffron's strange obsession with defending his "good name" in the courts is also explored.
Reeves isn't afraid to name names either. Some of Australia's best known identities are named in the book; Sir Peter Abeles, Sir Frank Packer, former Attorney General, Lionel Murphy and of course former Premier of New South Wales Robert Askin.
I did find the quotes from various court cases to be extremely dry reading. The rest of the book is a fascinating expose of just how corrupt things were in New South Wales for several decades.
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