The secret lover of the infamous gangster Meyer Lansky first revealed details of her 12-year affair with Kingpin and described him as a "gentle soul" who, despite his infamous criminal exploits, "could be brought to tears by the injustices of life".
Lansky was one of the richest and most feared gangsters in America for more than four decades. He ruthlessly controlled and invested the dirty mafia resources accumulated by loan sharks, robberies, and murder.
Lansky, known as "Mob & # 39; s Accountant", was a co-founder of Murder Inc., a contract-killing syndicate responsible for around 1,000 hits across the country in the 1930s.
For Zali de Toledo, the mafioso was a caring, tender lover, 40 years older than her, with whom she shared a long affair, which she first revealed in her new book My Secret Life with Meyer Lansky, the financial genius, Behind the Mafia .
"The man I met was completely different than everyone else thought," she said to Haarertz. "A man who was sensitive to tears."
Zali de Toledo is depicted with the infamous gangster Meyer Lansky. According to the native Turk, he was not the threatening figure he was often portrayed as in the press
Lansky was one of the richest and most feared gangsters in America for more than four decades. He ruthlessly controlled and invested the dirty mafia resources accumulated by loan sharks, robberies, and murder
Meyer Lansky has lost $ 300 million
Meyer Lansky was one of the most notorious figures of the gangster era in life, a small Jewish immigrant who became known as "Mob & # 39; s Accountant" and was associated with death after death.
After the prohibition ended in 1933, Lansky successfully used his fortune in gambling interests in the United States and ultimately internationally. He encouraged other gangsters to invest in Cuba, where he eventually owned or was financially interested in at least three casinos.
However, with the Cuban Revolution of 1959, operations came in a million dollar disaster. Rebel leader Fidel Castro nationalized all of Lansky's casino interests on the island.
The jewel in the crown was Havanna's most renowned hotel and casino, the Havana Riviera and Marina Hemingway – which he owned together with Frank Sinatra, according to his family.
In 2010, Lansky's daughter Sandra announced publicly that her father had transferred approximately $ 15 million to his brother's account in the early 1970s, when Lansky was experiencing problems with the IRS.
How much money Lansky was really worth will probably never be known.
Since warming US-Cuba relations in 2015, Lansky's grandson Gary Rapoport has asked the Cuban government to compensate him for the seizure of the Riviera hotel that his grandfather built in Havana.
At the time of his death, Lansky had only $ 52,000 in his name.
The FBI believes it may have left over $ 300 million in hidden bank accounts – but they never found any money.
De Toledo was a 26-year-old waitress at the Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 1969 when she said she was struck by a "flash" of attraction when she turned the 67-year-old 5 feet 4 inches tall Kingpin had closed his eyes from the dining room.
"Meyer told me he gave me his nicest smile the first time I met, so I'm not afraid," she said. He wore a bow tie and smiled at me with mischievous eyes. Not a funny person, but someone who makes you happy. At that moment I fell in love with him.
"This man was supposed to have done terrible things and yet I didn't care. But what attracted me – the man or the danger?"
In the following twelve years, Toledo said that she had come to see Lansky like the world could never, as a "gentle, funny, and warm soul" – far from the ruthless and "dangerous criminal" he so often sees was called in the world Press.
"I saw Meyer Lansky that no one else knew," she told the Express newspaper. "I loved Meyer and he loved me even more. We have completed each other. In a way he was a father figure to me, but at the same time he would draw strength from me. "
"Meyer often put his head on my shoulder and we sat in silence, just holding on, safe from the world, protected in our cocoon of love."
The tender lover described by de Toledo was in fact a linchpin of organized crime in the United States from the 1930s until his death in 1983, and allegedly collected a personal fortune of $ 300 million.
The stoic, sharply dressed Belarusian was one of the most powerful people in America for decades.
Together with his co-workers Charles & # 39; Lucky & # 39; Luciano and Bugsy Seigel were instrumental in Meyer’s gathering of rival mafia gangs in the United States in 1934, which later became known as the National Crime Syndicate.
In conjunction with the Jewish mob, Lansky and Luciano developed a gaming empire that spanned the world and had shares in casinos from Las Vegas to Cuba, the Bahamas and London.
It was known that he had trafficked illegal alcohol during the prohibition with Joe Kennedy, the father of murdered President John F. Kennedy, and is even attributed to former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover with his longtime aide Clyde Tolson to have compromised.
In the late 1960s, fearing criminal prosecution for federal tax evasion, Lansky attempted to emigrate to Israel, where he crossed paths with de Toledo.
Despite their four-decade age difference, de Toledo said it was "no difference," and the couple got romantically involved the day after their first meeting when Lansky showed up in their apartment the next morning.
"I threw my arms around him," de Toledo recalled. I threw my arms around him and held him as tight as I could and pressed him into my body.
"I felt so safe, so protected, as if nothing could ever harm me on earth as long as I stayed in this man's embrace."
Lansky wasted de Toledo on gold jewelry, diamond earrings, and Cartier bracelets, and even bought her a luxury apartment on upscale Weizmann Street in Tel Aviv that would become her love nest.
De Toledo (left) was a 26-year-old waitress at the Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 1969 when she said she was struck by a "lightning bolt" of attraction when she looked at the 67-year-old, 5ft 4in Kingpin from across the dining room.
Together with his co-worker Charles & # 39; Lucky & # 39; Luciano (left) was instrumental in Meyer’s gathering of rival mafia gangs in the United States in 1934, which later became known as the National Crime Syndicate
The stoic, sharply dressed Belarusian was one of the most powerful people in America for decades
Less than half a year after her secret advertising, de Toledo discovered that she was pregnant. "I was 27," she remembered Haaertz. "He wanted to keep the baby, but he left the decision to me. We didn't know whether Meyer would stay in the country, we didn't know what would happen in the (immigration) process.
"We didn't know what would happen to me. We thought if his wife found out there would be a scandal." I had a serious problem. I had an abortion and years later he asked me, "How old would he have been today?" I don't know why he thought it was a boy, but he did. "
Lansky was pushed back to the United States in 1972. He was arrested for tax evasion when he arrived in Miami, but was cleared of all charges in 1974.
Despite the thousands of miles separating her, de Toledo says that she and Lansky have kept in touch and the mafia mob has written more than 350 letters to her about his love for her.
"The letters he wrote to me were like a diary," she says. “One time he wrote about politics, another time about pain, what he felt, or Israel. Sometimes I got two letters in one day. "
Lansky always signed his notes with "Always remember that I love you," said de Toledo.
She also revealed how Lansky would choose to separate his working life from his love life without giving her details of his criminal business, and assured de Toledo: "The less you know, the better."
Lansky was pushed back to the United States in 1972. He was arrested for tax evasion when he arrived in Miami, but was cleared of all charges in 1974
Despite the thousands of miles that separated her, De Toledo said she and Lansky had kept in touch, and the mafia mob wrote more than 350 letters streaming about his love for her
He would also pay for her to visit him in Miami about twice a year and even rent a house for her where she lived with his wife (right) and three children
& # 39; (He said) If you are asked to testify against me tomorrow or the next day, I want you to take the oath wholeheartedly.
"So he didn't tell me much, just things I got from him here and there about Cuba and gambling. Sometimes he also wrote to me about things I asked. He explained to me what gambling was in the United States States is and what he thinks of gambling. & # 39;
He would also pay for her to visit him in Miami about twice a year, and even rent a house to stay near his home with his wife and three children.
“It was so much fun to be with Meyer. I would cook for him and he would be so happy that he would pick me up to dance in the kitchen and sing me "you are always in my heart".
"He had a beautiful singing voice," de Toledo recalled.
The surreptitious visits continued to his home in Miami until the year before he died of lung cancer in 1983 at the age of 81
At the time of his death, Lansky was officially worth almost nothing on paper and his family was on his own. The FBI believed he had left over $ 300 million in hidden bank accounts – but they never found any money
The surreptitious visits continued to his home in Miami until the year before he died of lung cancer in 1983 at the age of 81.
De Toledo said she had not visited the gangster for about ten months before his death because "the Lebanon war had broken out and my son-in-law was mobilized so that I could not leave the country."
"I had promised him never to call or write to him at home. I didn't want to call him while his wife was at his side. I was getting used to the fact that he wasn't there. It wasn't a surprise when he died. "
De Toledo vividly remembers the day he died. It was January 15, 1983. My sister woke me at a quarter to three in the afternoon. She told me that Meyer was dead. I turned on the news at 3 a.m. and they said he died. I had to go to work. I always wear black. I wore bright clothes that day to counter the pain. "
At the time of his death, Lansky was officially worth almost nothing on paper and his family was on his own.
The FBI believed he had left over $ 300 million in hidden bank accounts – but they never found any money.
The U.S. Department of Justice has never found Lansky guilty of anything more serious than illegal gambling.
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