This remarkable story examines how bribery, blackmail and corruption made enigmatic crime boss Abe Saffron Australia’s number one underworld figure for almost three decades.
In the 60s and 70s Sydney corruption became so entrenched that organised criminal activity became institutionalised. From the top down just about everyone in a position of power was on the take.
In the 1950s, glamorous nightclub owner Abe brought Sinatra to Australia four times along with 300 other US acts. He introduced the business model for organised crime to Sydney, with lawyers and accountants setting up businesses as fronts for illegal gambling, sex and liquor.
Abe became bagman for the NSW State Premier and the Police Commissioner, channelling rivers of money in their direction. This son of Polish immigrants who grew up in inner city Annandale became very rich and very influential. He secured his position by providing prostitutes to those he wanted to control and secretly photographed their sexual peccadilloes.
The murder of anti-development activist Juanita Nielsen is one of Sydney’s most enduring mysteries. The death of six children in the ghost train at Luna Park is another. Suspicion continues to this day that Abe was behind both events.
In parliament his name was connected to narcotics and he was drawn into public view. Like Al Capone he was jailed for a short time on tax evasion while the full extent of his crimes and connections lay unexposed.
Mr Sin: The Abe Saffron Story is full of engaging and unique characters, family members and others a little more rough at the edges. Although this is a distinctly Sydney story with a unique flavour it is born of universal themes and it will entertain and enthral a broad national audience.
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