Jean-François Gayraud

Corruption and Entertainment Publication date : March 26, 2009

This book aims to reveal the little-known but socially dangerous links between organised crime and the elites of the “society of the spectacle”. Its ultimate goal is to understand the causes, often ancient, sometimes modern, behind the phenomenon, in order to anticipate and finally prevent it. The author draws an analogy between our celebrity-dominated society and a rotting fish: in both cases putrefaction spreads from the head downwards.

In Jean-François Gayraud's expert opinion the contemporary world can be characterised by the emergence and assertion of new transnational powers with no state affiliations: multinational corporations and investment funds but also press and entertainment conglomerates, which he regards as the visible tip of an iceberg that conceals the growing strength of some major criminal entities, cartels, mafias, street gangs, etc. He argues that these powers — the hidden face of globalisation — have rendered contemporary societies more vulnerable than ever before to the incursions of organised crime. What sector of the economy could be more vulnerable than the entertainment industry?

What forms can corruption adopt? Who are the corrupters? How do they proceed? What do they want?

From the influence of the mafia on Hollywood to corruption in France's nightlife and fashion world, from the Marcovic affair to the Khalifa scandal, from pornographic films to video games, the author shows how the criminal world and the entertainment business collaborate and use one another in a complex game in which we are the dupes.

In our “society of the spectacle”, in which actors and stars play a leading role and are often regarded as social models, it is not surprising that organised crime has sought to use the entertainment industry to increase its appeal, favour its interests and generally make its activities seem more respectable.

In this book, through a multitude of stories and events, the author reveals the strategies and tactics used by organised crime from the 1940s to the present.

Where Bernardino Terracciano's Gomorra showed the most sordid aspect of the mafia at the local, Italian level, this book reveals what lies behind the glamour and glitter of the film, nightclub, music and fashion industries — and the dangers are equally great.

Jean-François Gayraud is a chief superintendent on France's national police force. He holds a doctorate in law and is a graduate of the Institut d'études Politiques of Paris and of the Institut de Criminologie of Paris.