Heirs of Jewish mobster seek compensation for Cuban casino

December 11, 2015 07:53

HAVANA - The heirs of Jewish-American organized crime legend Meyer Lansky want compensation for his nationalized hotel, the Riviera, the seaside home to one of the last casinos built in swinging Havana of the 1950s.

US and Cuban officials on Tuesday opened talks about honoring legal claims against the respective governments that were dormant for half a century and are now under review since the former Cold War foes have restored diplomatic ties.

Although Lansky's heirs have yet to file a claim, they have been looking into their rights ever since US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced a year ago that they would normalize relations, said Gary Rapoport, Lansky's grandson.

Rapoport, 60, said he, his mother and his uncle are beneficiaries of Lansky's trust and entitled to compensation. The hotel opened in December 1957 and was nationalized after Fidel Castro's rebels took over little more than a year later and outlawed gambling as a capitalist vice.

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