The accountant's story Inside the violent world of the Medellín cartel

Roberto Escobar Gaviria

Book - 2009

Pablo Escobar and the Medellín drug cartel formed the greatest criminal empire of all time. At its peak, in the 1980s, Forbes pegged the Escobar fortune at a cool $6 billion. Pablo's older brother Roberto, the author of this book, says that actually the Escobars were worth far more than that. (He notes, for instance, that the family was trafficking so much cocaine that they spent $1,000 a week just on rubber bands to hold together their bundles of cash.) Here he offers far more than divert...ing contraband trivia, presenting us with an insider's view of a murderous enterprise that outflanked governments on several continents. One of the most astonishing true crime books of the decade.--From publisher description.

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Subjects
Published
New York : Grand Central Pub 2009.
Edition
1st ed
Language
English
Physical Description
xii, 289 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes index.
ISBN
9780446178921
0446178926
Main Author
Roberto Escobar Gaviria (-)
Other Authors
David Fisher, 1946- (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

By the time of his death at the hands of a special squad of Colombian police in 1993, Pablo Escobar controlled a multibillion-dollar cocaine-based empire that corrupted police, the military, and high-ranking politicians. His older brother, Roberto, served as the financial guru of this empire, deciding how to save, hide, and distribute vast sums of cash to maintain and nurture the so-called Medellín cartel. Escobar, who served a 10-year prison sentence for his cartel activities, certainly provides a unique and often deeply personal perspective. His description of his childhood with Pablo may help explain but does not justify the way Pablo consistently resorted to unrestrained violence against any opposition. Colombia in the 1950s was in the throes of chronic political violence on a massive scale, with roving factional gangs engaging in murderous raids and counter-raids. Still, Escobar s frequent efforts to "explain" (or even justify) Pablo s outrages that killed numerous innocents quickly become tiresome and morally repugnant. When his narrative sticks to the nuts-and-bolts process of his brother s relentless, ruthless construction of a gigantic and effective criminal organization, this is an engrossing and morbidly fascinating tale filled with intrigue, betrayal, and stunning amounts of cash. At its best, this is a real-life story of the rise and fall of a violent and vile man. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

The brother of MedellIn drug cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar gives us an insider's look at the folks who once sent the United States 15 tons of cocaine a day and spent $1000 a week just for rubber bands to bundle the cash. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Pablo Escobar and the Medellâin drug cartel formed the greatest criminal empire of all time. At its peak, in the 1980s, Forbes pegged the Escobar fortune at a cool $6 billion. Pablo's older brother Roberto, the author of this book, says that actually theEscobars were worth far more than that. (He notes, for instance, that the family was trafficking so much cocaine that they spent $1,000 a week just on rubber bands to hold together their bundles of cash.) Here he offers far more than diverting contrabandtrivia, presenting us with an insider's view of a murderous enterprise that outflanked governments on several continents. One of the most astonishing true crime books of the decade.--From publisher description.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The brother and chief accountant of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar describes the Medellâin Drug Cartel's staggering profits, the violence he witnessed as an insider, and the lesser-known aspects of Pablo's personality that made him a hero to many.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The surviving brother and chief accountant of infamous drug kingpin Pablo Escobar describes the Medellín Drug Cartel's staggering profits, the brutal violence he witnessed as an insider, and the lesser-known aspects of Pablo's personality that made him a hero to many.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

This the story of Roberto Esobar - the top accountant for the notorious and deadly Medellin Cartel, and brother of Pablo Escobar, the most famous drug lord in history. At the height of his reign, Pablo's multibillion-dollar operation smuggled tons of cocaine each week into countries all over the world. Roberto and his ten accountants keep track of all the money. Only Pablo and Roberto knew where it was stashed - and what it bought.And the amounts of money were simply staggering. According to Roberto, it cost $2,500 every month just to purchase the rubber bands needed to wrap the stacks of cash. The biggest problem was finding a place to store it: from secret compartments in walls and beneath swimming pools to banks and warehouses everywhere. There was so much money that Roberto would sometimes write off ten percent as "spoilage," meaning either rats had chewed up the bills or dampness had ruined the cash.Roberto writes about the incredible violence of the cartel, but he also writes about the humanitarian side of his brother. Pablo had built entire towns, gave away thousands of houses, paid people's medical expenses and built schools and hospitals. Yet, he was responsible for the horrible deaths of thouands of people.In short, this is the story of a world of riches almost beyond mortal imagination and in his own words, Roberto Escobar tells all: building a magnificent zoo at Pablo's opulent home, the brothers' many escapes into the jungles of Columbia, devising ingenious methods to smuggle tons of cocaine into the United States, bribing officials with literally millions of dollars - and building a personal army to protect the Escobar family against an array of enemies sworn to kill them.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

"I have many scars. Some of them are physical, but many more are scars on my soul. A bomb sent to kill me while I was in a maximum security prison has made me blind, yet now I see the world more clearly than I have ever seen it before. I have lived an incredible adventure. I watched as my brother, Pablo Escobar, became the most successful criminal in history, but also a hero to many of the people of Colombia. My brother was loved and he was feared. Hundreds of thousands of people marched in his funeral procession, and certainly as many people celebrated his death." These are the words of Roberto Escobar-the top accountant for the notorious and deadly Medellín Cartel, and brother of Pablo Escobar, the most famous drug lord in history. At the height of his reign, Pablo's multibillion-dollar operation smuggled tons of cocaine each week into countries all over the world. Roberto and his ten accountants kept track of all the money. Only Pablo and Roberto knew where it was stashed-and what it bought. And the amounts of money were simply staggering. According to Roberto, it cost $2,500 every month just to purchase the rubber bands needed to wrap the stacks of cash. The biggest problem was finding a place to store it: from secret compartments in walls and beneath swimming pools to banks and warehouses everywhere. There was so much money that Roberto would sometimes write off ten percent as "spoilage," meaning either rats had chewed up the bills or dampness had ruined the cash. Roberto writes about the incredible violence of the cartel, but he also writes of the humanitarian side of his brother. Pablo built entire towns, gave away thousands of houses, paid people's medical expenses, and built schools and hospitals. Yet he was responsible for the horrible deaths of thousands of people. In short, this is the story of a world of riches almost beyond mortal imagination, and in his own words, Roberto Escobar tells all: building a magnificent zoo at Pablo's opulent home, the brothers' many escapes into the jungles of Colombia, devising ingenious methods to smuggle tons of cocaine into the United States, bribing officials with literally millions of dollars-and building a personal army to protect the Escobar family against an array of enemies sworn to kill them. Few men in history have been more beloved-or despised-than Pablo Escobar. Now, for the first time, his story is told by the man who knew him best: his brother, Roberto.