Forum Owner: Since the conviction of Terry Adams last month- a trial which was mentioned on every news programe and in every newspaper throughout the UK, Ireland and indeed the rest of Europe- I feel it is appropriate to now tell the story of Britain's 'Godfather' as it is now common knowledge about the existance of this family. They are a London Irish family and rose to the very top of Britain's underworld.
Fall of the godfather
Head of Britain's most feared crime family jailed for money laundering
Sandra Laville, crime correspondent
Saturday March 10, 2007
The Godfather retired at 35. By then his years of running probably the most feared criminal gang in the British underworld had earned him so much money he stopped counting at £11m.
Today the criminal career of Terence George Adams, 52, has been halted, albeit perhaps temporarily, as he begins a seven-year sentence for laundering £1m.
Like Al Capone in 1932, it was not the violence, the extortion or the narcotics that finally put the head of the notorious north London-based Adams family behind bars, but a forensic trail of his dirty millions by a select group of detectives, which took 21 months, cost £10m and involved the transcribing of thousands of hours of surveillance tapes.
With his wife Ruth and daughter watching from the public gallery of court 11 at the Old Bailey, Adams remained impassive as Judge Timothy Pontius sentenced him. The judge issued a confiscation order for £750,000 of his vast but uncalculated assets, and ordered him to pay £50,000 towards the prosecution costs of more than £4m.
Adams's delaying tactics following his arrest three years ago had caused "colossal and unprecedented costs" to the public purse, the judge said.
Because of his persistent refusal to declare his assets, Adams now faces an investigation by the Legal Services Commission and at its conclusion he will be forced to pay all of his defence costs - expected to exceed £5m. His conviction, detectives hope, will finally bring down his massive empire, built on more than 20 years of violently controlled protection rackets, extortion and drug trafficking.
As the judge ordered him to be taken down, Adams raised a double handed salute to his wife and daughter, before disappearing to the cells. He will be taken to the category A wing of Belmarsh high security prison.
The court heard that having spent the last two decades placing his millions in the hands of third parties, nominees and false companies, Adams confidently told the Inland Revenue in 1996 that all he had was "£50 with no other assets".
But the truth was very different. By his mid-30s, Adams was in possession of such a large fortune that he was able to turn his back on frontline criminal activity and retire to his luxurious and numerous homes in London and Cyprus. He left the dirty work to a band of enforcers; hardmen like Gilbert Wynter, known for his extreme violence and now believed to be dead.
"Adams had reached a point in his career when his name alone had a value from which he was able to profit," said prosecutor Andrew Mitchell QC yesterday. "By reason of his past criminal activity, the name Terry Adams and that of his family had a currency of its own that he guarded closely, like a board of directors would guard a trademark."
Seated behind the court's bulletproof glass yesterday, Adams held his head high as, for the first time, official details of his leadership of one of the most "feared and revered" organised criminal fraternities in the UK was outlined to the court.
Evidence of the ruthless violence meted out by Adams and his enforcers to prop up his empire was revealed in the transcript of thousands of hours of surveillance tapes.
Those who owed money or offended him were beaten, slashed and in one case kidnapped, according to the taped evidence.
"When I hit someone with something, I do them damage," he was recorded saying. "On my baby's life, his kneecap came right out there ... all bone and white."
With the millions he made from crime, Adams supported a lavish lifestyle for himself and his family. As well as his homes in London, he had a yacht and a flat in Cyprus, used first class air travel and sent his daughter to private school. On her birthday he presented her with a Mercedes sports car.
Adams pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money after a plea bargain which involved charges against his wife being dropped.
This message has been edited by IrishHood on Jun 29, 2007 9:20 AM
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The Clerkenwell crime syndicate, most often known as the Adams Family or the A-team by the British press, is alleged to be one of most powerful criminal organisations in the United Kingdom. That position is now under threat: the gang's apparent leader has been in custody since February 2007, and two of his brothers are under surveillance by MI5 in Spain, making other criminals reluctant to do business with them.
The syndicate was formed during the early 1980s by Terry Adams, with his brothers Tommy and Patrick Adams acting as financier and enforcer respectively. It expanded to include other members of the extended Adams clan and their close childhood friends. The gang's power base is the Clerkenwell neighbourhood in Islington. Terry Adams, until his admission of money-laundering in February, 2007, lived in the Barnsbury area of Islington.
The gang is said to be heavily involved in drug trafficking and extortion as well as the hijacking of gold bullion shipments and security fraud. They have been linked to 25 gangland murders. Using Afro-Caribbean muscle as additional manpower (as would Sicilian mafiosi hired out by Charles Sabini and the Messina Brothers only decades before) to murder informants and rival criminals. As well as developing alleged connections to Metropolitan Police officials, they were also stated to have had a British Conservative MP in their pocket at one point.
The shooting of "Mad" Frankie Fraser, a former enforcer for the Richardson Gang, in July 1991 was said to have been ordered by the Adams family though Fraser said he had been targeted by rogue police. The family is believed to have connections with various criminal organisations, specifically with South American drug cartels. Before the conviction of Terry Adams in 2007 the British media referred to the gang sparingly, considering their alleged influence, and normally described them as the A-team or the notorious Adams family from Islington.
Sean "Tommy" Adams gained some public attention during a trial in 2004, when he was described as having attended a meeting in 2002 at the request of the former football international Kenny Dalglish. The nature of the criminal world means that it is sometimes difficult to assess their strength. The BBC has asserted that their influence decreased from 2000. Police officers speaking off the record to British newspapers have said that the family has been credited with acts that they simply did not carry out. It has been widely stated that they have a fortune of up to £200 million.
Terence George Adams, born in 1954, admitted money laundering offences on 7 February 2007 and was jailed for seven years on 9 March. With remission he should be released by October 2011, possibly as early as August 2010. The BBC reported on 12 March that Adams was likely to appeal his sentence. Charges against his wife were dropped following Adams's guilty plea. Her ill health had delayed their trial following their arrest in 2003.He had been widely recognised as the overall leader of the syndicate, but little information was known about him before his conviction.
The former Scottish gangster Paul Ferris asserts that none of the brothers is primus inter pares (first among equals ie in sole charge). Terry has been described as having a refined and cultured manner and as a collector of antiques, wine, and cars (including custom-built Cadillacs and Bentleys). The Evening Standard reported in 2000 that he lived in a Finchley mansion.
Terrys downfall came with the assistance of MI5 and the Inland Revenue. MI5, looking for work after the Cold War ended, played a leading part in the war against organised crime and turned its sights on Adams. Police and MI5 set up a secret squad to dismantle the Adams organisation. Under the codename Operation Trinity, electronic bugs were put in the lounge, bedroom and loft of Adamss home. Some of the recordings suggested that Adams had retired from frontline involvment in crime in 1990. He was also caught on tape, in 1998, telling his advisor Solly Nahome that he did not want to be involved with a particular deal as it was illegal and he was now legitimate.
The Inland Revenue had also started asking Adams to explain how he had got his £2 million house and the valuable antiques he collected. Adams invented a range of occupations, including jeweller and public relations executive. Transcripts of the surveillance proved he was lying.
When arrested in April 2003 detectives found art and antiques valued at £500,000, £59,000 in cash and jewellery worth more than £40,000 in his home.
Sean Tommy Adams
Tommy Adams, born in 1958, is allegedly financier for his brothers Terry and Patrick. A married father of four, he still has a home near the family's traditional Islington base, but is now living in Spain. Tommy was cleared of involvement in the laundering of gold bullion in 1985. He is suspected of establishing connections to other criminal organisations including numerous Yardie gangs as well as gaining an $80 million credit line from Colombian drug cartels. In 1998, Adams was convicted of organising a £8 million hashish smuggling operation for which he was jailed for seven years.
Patrick Adams, born in 1955, is regarded as one of the most violent organised crime figures in Great Britain. He gained an early reputation in London's underworld by using high-speed motorcycles in gangland murders and was a suspect in at least 25 organised crime related deaths over a three-year period. He was sentenced to seven years in prison in the 1970s for an armed robbery.
Although subordinate to Terry Adams, Patrick sometimes known as Patsy has participated in individual criminal activities, most notably he is suspected of the failed 1991 murder attempt on Frankie Fraser and, according to one account, assaulted his son David Fraser with a knife cutting off part of his ear during a drug deal. During the late 1990s, he was reported to spend much of his time in Spain. The Independent stated in 2001 that he was living in exile in Spain in a walled villa bristling with security cameras a few miles south of Torremolinos.
Not all members of the family are criminals; some, including the Adams's parents and several of their eight other siblings are law-abiding.
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Terry Adams, head of Britains foremost crime family, was finally brought to book last week by an MI5 trap
Michael Gillard, David Connett and Jonathan Calvert
An electronic bug inside the north London town house picked up a chilling voice that was all too familiar to the MI5 desk officers listening in.
I mean it, Gil. Youve got to liven him up, said the speaker. Put the fear of God into him, mate, [so] he knows its only down to you that hes walking about and breathing fresh air.
The man giving the orders was Terry Adams, the feared boss of Britains leading crime family. He was instructing Gilbert Wynter, a trusted enforcer, to beat up a debtor. Wynter, who had once butchered a victim with a samurai sword, was only too happy to please.
Ill open him up like a bag of crisps, he enthused. It was the sort of can-do attitude that Adams expected. He was asking for no more than he would do himself.
In another secret recording he boasted: When I hit someone with something I do them damage. And I went to the geezer . . . I went crack. On my babys life, his kneecap come right out . . . all white, all bone.
Ruthless thuggery was one of the trademarks of the Adams crime syndicate - a gang with global links and an accumulated fortune of more than £50m from drugs, clubs, fraud and extortion.
In a criminal career spanning three decades, Adams, the oldest of five brothers and the familys self-styled chief executive, seemed untouchable. But last Tuesday at 2.43pm in a south London courtroom, Terence George Adams did something many in the police and underworld thought would never happen: he pleaded guilty.
Will this villain now spend the rest of his life in prison as his predecessors the Kray brothers did? Not a bit of it: although the Adams family has been synonymous with evil in London for so long, the dapper crime lords lawyers have reached a plea bargain with prosecutors that should ensure his exit from jail when he is still young enough to enjoy the life of a very rich man.
Like Al Capone, the Chicago gangster, Adams was finally nailed for a financial crime after the police failed to amass sufficient evidence to send him down for his more bloodthirsty activities.
Capone went mad after his release. Perhaps that is the worst that his victims can hope for Adams. But how did he reign as Londons Capone for so long and why did the crimebusters reach a deal with him?
BARNSBURY is now one of the most expensive enclaves in Islington, north London. Tony and Cherie Blair lived in one of its gentrified Victorian villas in the 1990s, giving birth there to new Labour.
When George and Florence Adams brought up 11 children in Barnsbury in the 1950s and 1960s, however, it was still a tough neighbourhood where disputes were settled with fists - not over a tuna tartare in the Granita restaurant.
The three oldest Adams boys, Terry, Patsy and Tommy, left school at 15 and served a criminal apprenticeship with local faces who taught such useful skills as armed robbery.
As their activities grew, Hatton Garden, Londons gem centre in Clerkenwell, a few miles from Barnsbury, became their base. They turned to one of the jewel dealers, Solly Nahome, as a financial adviser. The little fella looked after the money that began to pour in as the brothers entered the drugs trade in the mid1980s.
The Adams organisation, nicknamed the A team, helped to flood London with high-grade cocaine and became leading suppliers to clubbers of the dance drug ecstasy, which they smuggled from the United States and Holland. Rivals such as the Islington-based Reillys, another Irish Catholic crime family, were displaced with extreme violence.
One National Crime Squad source said: Adams was into everything: nightclubs, pubs, horse racing scams, ticket touting, drugs, money laundering . . . His tentacles stretched across the Continent and into eastern Europe.
The gang was suspected of involvement in several high-profile acts of violence including the attempted murder of the gangster Mad Frankie Fraser outside a nightclub in Clerkenwell in 1991.
Wynter, their enforcer, was tried in 1994 for the murder of Claude Moseley, a former athletics champion, with a samurai sword. Hewas acquitted but vanished four years later - and was thought to have been killed for getting out of control, just as one of the Kray gang had perished.
Unlike the Krays, who became celebrities on Londons louche nightclub scene, the Adams family was feared but invisible. The name was whispered widely, but the public knew little else.
For a long time the brothers were also invisible to the UK tax authorities. Court documents seen by The Sunday Times show that throughout his rise to godfather status, Adams paid no income tax and did not even come to the attention of the Inland Revenue until 1995. When the Revenues special compliance office at last investigated his affairs, Nahome and other advisers helped him to pretend that he had legitimate sources of income. He cut a secret deal with the Inland Revenue to pay only £95,000 tax on his multi-million pound fortune.
From then on Adams instructed his advisers to give him a veneer of legitimacy. With a £2m house, a yacht, holiday homes and millions in offshore bank accounts, he was anxious to enjoy a more normal life with his wife and their daughter, Skye.
In October 1997 his advisers set up two sham companies, the Skye and Clouds consultancies, to make it appear as if he had an income - as little as £5,000 per year - that could be legitimately taxed.
His desire for respectability was not shared by his brothers. Tommy Adams conducted large drug deals from the back of his personal black cab as he was driven around London. Patsy Adams based himself in Spains Costa del Sol, a transhipment point for drugs and illicit tobacco.
What none of the brothers knew was that the authorities had at last had enough. Several trials had resulted in acquittals and rumours of jury tampering. This untouchable family had to be smashed. MI5, the security service, was brought in under its remit to tackle organised crime. Its operatives are masters of surveillance.
The police and MI5 set up a secret squad based in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, to dismantle the Adams organisation. The operation, codenamed Trinity, had to be completely secret as the family was thought to have corrupt police and customs officers on its payroll. Bugs were inserted into the lounge, bedroom and loft of Adamss home and also Nahomes office.
Domestic rows, inter-family relations and business strategies were all recorded and transmitted to a room in Thames House, the MI5 headquarters, where desk officers worked round the clock cataloguing recordings and passing the best passages on to the police.
Adams emerged as a reclusive figure and keep-fit fanatic. Criminal associates would often drop by to pay their respects and hand over large bundles of cash.
He was fiercely protective of the family name, which was franchised out to other gangsters who used it to command respect. Those who used it without permission did so at their own risk.
The geezers using the family name . . .hes got to be hurt, Adams says in one recording.
Whenever a gangland killing took place in London - particularly if the gunman was on a motorbike - crime reporters would suspect the involvement of the A team. In late 1998, Nahome himself was shot dead outside his home - by a killer on a motorbike. But bugged telephone calls suggest that Adams was genuinely shocked by the murder.
Nahomes death left the gang confused about where all its cash was stashed. Adamss wife Ruth was taped explaining to Nahomes widow: Its all over the f****** place.
Operation Trinity also bugged Tommy Adamss black cab. He was overheard boasting that he had given a £10,000 donation to his local Labour party. He was successfully prosecuted for conspiring to import cannabis.
There was a limit, however, to what the watchers could pin on Terry Adams. When he was at last arrested in April 2003 detectives found art and antiques valued at £500,000, £59,000 in cash and more than £40,000 worth of jewellery in his home.
When it came to charging him, the only unassailable evidence from the surveillance operation was of financial impropriety. He was accused of money laundering. His wife, Nahomes widow Joanna Barnes and a man who cannot be identified for legal reasons, were also charged.
For the next four years the trial was plagued with delays, which the judge consistently laid at the defendants door. Behind the scenes, bargaining was under way over guilty pleas and the confiscation of assets. Ruth Adams became severely ill.
The terms of the deal that was finally agreed remain confidential. It is known that in return for Adamss guilty plea to a specimen charge, his wife was discharged. Barnes admitted one count of forgery.
Adams will be sentenced next month, when a confiscation deal will be revealed. Judge Timothy Pontius, who denied bail, told him: The extent and seriousness of the criminality represented by [your] plea of guilty means prison is inevitable.
Is this the end of Britains most successful modern-day crime family? Patsy and Tommy Adams are in Spain and the criminal underworld is said to be wary of doing business with them because they are so closely watched by law enforcement agencies. Terry Adams may still be able to run the gang from prison, however, and speculation about his sentence ranges from 14 years to as few as five years.
His lawyers will mitigate that he has been going straight. But last month a court in Tampa, Florida, heard an extraordinary story when Christopher Benbow, a Briton, was jailed for life for trying to sell undercover agents radioactive material for a dirty bomb.
The agents had offered Benbow cocaine, heroin or ecstasy as payment. Benbow had returned to London to find a professional distributor for the drugs. His contacts, the court was told, were members of the Adams crime family.
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Busted: The fall of Britain's most ruthless gangster
Score 2.0 (1 person)
April 11 2007, 10:20 PM
From The Independent Newspaper:
Busted: The fall of Britain's most ruthless gangster
He's the godfather behind a £200m business built on murder, drugs and money laundering. Now Terry Adams is finally behind bars. But how did he become Britain's most feared gangland boss? And why did it take more than three decades to bring him down? Terry Kirby investigates
Published: 08 February 2007
"Everybody stood up when he walked in. He looked like a star," recalls David McKenzie, a London financier. "He was immaculately dressed in a long black coat and white frilly shirt. He was totally in command.''
Indeed, the middle-aged man described by McKenzie as looking like "a cross between Liberace and Peter Stringfellow", was entitled to have an air of authority. He was the head of an international business empire worth an estimated £200m. Its employees were, by the very nature of that empire, few in number and unswervingly loyal.
The man's home, where McKenzie was introduced to him, is a discreetly guarded but substantial north London mansion, tastefully decorated and filled with antique furniture and expensive objets d'art. He is a well-mannered man of cultured tastes, with a liking for good wine and custom- built cars. He was once so wealthy that he considered putting in a bid for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.
But this is no ordinary captain of industry. His name is Terry Adams and he was - and possibly still is - the head of Britain's most enterprising (and most feared) organised criminal gang - the Adams family, otherwise known as the A-Team, or the Clerkenwell Crime Syndicate.
Their "business" began with petty extortion from market traders, moved into armed robbery and finally blossomed into drug trafficking, all backed up by a willingness to use violence whenever necessary, a willingness that led to their rumoured involvement in up to 30 gangland killings. Their ability to evade justice gave them an air of invincibility, fuelling the belief that they had detectives, lawyers and prosecutors on their payroll - and that even jurors were not immune from their menaces. Anyone considered an informer against them or a threat to the family was ruthlessly targeted. "A formidable and feared organisation steeped in the highest levels of criminal activity,'' one Old Bailey trial was told. Or, as one gangland expert put it yesterday, they "made the Krays look like clowns".
Yesterday, Adams, 52, was in a rather different environment from his north London manor - across the Thames, inside the high-security Belmarsh Prison, awaiting sentencing next month for money laundering. He could receive up to 14 years in prison but is almost certain to be sentenced to less - and with automatic parole and time off for good behaviour, Adams may well be free again long before he turns 60.
And while Adams' guilty plea to money laundering (thus avoiding a lengthy trial) was hailed by police and the Crown Prosecution Service as the climax of a long-sought, hard-fought quest for justice, the man himself will see it very differently. "I think Terry Adams will view this as something of a victory," said Wensley Clarkson, author of Gangland and an expert on Britain's criminal underworld. "He will consider that, after all the efforts that the police have made to get him over the years, he has done rather well out of this."
It is certainly not the first time that encounters with the judicial process have worked out to the advantage of Terry Adams, and other members of the Adams family and their associates. One of Terry's brothers, Tommy, was cleared in 1985 of involvement with the laundering of the £26m Brinks Mat haul, while Gilbert Wynter, one of the family's "enforcers", was tried in 1994 for the murder of Claude Moseley, a former athlete turned drug dealer, only to be acquitted after the main prosecution witness mysteriously refused to testify.
Then there was the case involving the aforementioned Mr McKenzie. A Mayfair-based financier, McKenzie was asked in the late 1990s by the Adams family to launder large amounts of drug money on their behalf. However, his investments were less than wise and around £1.5m was lost. McKenzie was duly invited to Adams' mansion in Mill Hill, north London. He was left in no doubt that the money had to be recouped.
A few days later, when the cash was not forthcoming, McKenzie claimed that he was summoned to another meeting, at the Islington home of John Potter, Adams' brother-in-law. Here, an Old Bailey jury was later told, one Christopher McCormack, a close associate of the third brother, Patsy, set about Mr McKenzie. As well as being kicked and beaten, sustaining three broken ribs, he was carved up with a Stanley knife to the point where just fragments of skin were keeping his nose and left ear attached to his face. Two tendons on his left wrist were severed, permanently affecting the use of his hand.
When Potter gave evidence during the trial, he accepted that McKenzie had been injured at his home, but maintained that the attacker was a total stranger. He was cleared of committing acts intended to pervert the course of justice.
When McCormack gave evidence, he admitted meeting McKenzie three times to recover the debt "for my old mate Patsy", but claimed that the presence of McKenzie's blood on his jacket must have come from an earlier meeting, when he had broken up a fight between the financier and another man. McCormack was cleared, thanking the jury profusely and offering to buy them a drink "over the pub". One male juror apparently winked at McCormack and raised his hand in greeting, an incident that was never explained. While these jury acquittals have to be taken at face value, many police officers involved in the investigations expressed incredulity at the decisions.
Belief that the Adams brothers were attempting to interfere directly with the judicial process was confirmed not long afterwards, when Mark Herbert, a clerk with the Crown Prosecution Service, was convicting of selling the Adams family, through an intermediary, the names of 33 informants in return for £500. Adams was subsequently acquitted of charges of importing cannabis worth £25m. Admitting that he knew he was signing the informants' death warrants, Herbert said: "They will send them flowers, but not possibly for their birthdays." Victor Temple, QC, prosecuting at his trial, told the Old Bailey that this was an organisation that was "no stranger to the imposition of serious violence against those who might seek to challenge them - and few could afford to trifle with their wishes."
So how did this extraordinarily arrogant and powerful crime organisation begin? The three best-known Adams brothers come from an otherwise law-abiding and respectable working-class Irish Catholic family, in one of the less salubrious parts of Islington, north London. Terry was the eldest of 11 children born to truck driver George Adams and his wife, Florence, but it was his younger brothers, Patrick, otherwise known as Patsy, born in 1955, and Sean, otherwise known as Tommy, born in 1958, with whom he became most closely associated.
The three brothers began their criminal careers by extorting money from traders and stallholders at street markets close to their home in the Clerkenwell area, before moving on to armed robberies. Patsy found himself serving seven years in jail in the 1970s for armed robbery offences.
By now, Terry Adams had emerged as the brains of the operation, chairing their meetings in a businesslike fashion, with financial matters dealt with by Tommy, and the "muscle" supplied by Patsy.
But in the mid-1980s there was a seismic shift in London's criminal culture, led by the Adams family. As Scotland Yard's Flying Squad became more adapt at tracking down armed robbers, and the amount of cash in transit diminished in favour of electronic money transfers, the so-called "pavement artists" moved into a new and infinitely more lucrative field: drug trafficking.
This was a trade fuelled by the demand for cocaine and cannabis during the 1980s, and ecstasy during the 1990s. And it was a trade hitherto largely (although not exclusively) the preserve of amateurish and often ideologically-motivated hedonists of the Howard Marks variety. These small-time amateurs and part-timers now found themselves usurped by ruthless career criminals who were more than willing to use violence at the drop of a hat.
The vast profits generated by drug trafficking also required new ways of laundering the money. Criminal gangs like the Adams brothers needed to find themselves corrupt financiers, accountants, lawyers and other professionals to help them "wash" their cash to a squeaky-clean white and then invest it in property and other legitimate businesses.
The Adams family are said to have laundered their money through the jewellery quarter of Hatton Garden, using a diamond merchant by the name of Solly Nahome, through a restaurant in Smithfield and also a West End nightclub.
But as their power grew, so did their arrogance and violence. Patsy Adams began to develop a reputation as one of the most violent figures in the underworld, pioneering the use of high-speed motorcycle hit-men to carry out assassinations. An accountant, Terry Gooderham, said to have crossed the brothers by creaming off £250,000 of drug money, was found dead, alongside his girlfriend, in Epping Forest in 1989, a double "hit" attributed to the Adams empire.
One rival Irish family, the Reillys, attempted to challenge the Adams' dominance of their Islington stronghold. In response, Patsy Adams is said to have gone into a pub controlled by the Reillys and allowed one of his associates to insult a member of the rival family. The Reillys, greatly offended, went away to arm themselves and returned to the pub, only to find an ambush awaiting them. Their BMW was fired on repeatedly by members of the Adams gang. No one was killed, but the incident, with echoes of 1930s Chicago, sent out a message - both to the Reillys and anyone else who needed to know - that the Adams gang was prepared to go all the way to preserve its territory.
And it was a territory that rapidly expanded, breaking the unwritten rule that gangs were allowed unimpeded control over their own "manors" - as the Krays once held sway over east London and the Richardson gang ruled the tract of London south of the Thames. "What distinguished the Adamses from other London gangs," said Wensley Clarkson, "is that they moved into areas that were way beyond the normal territorial ambitions of gangs. They ended up owning practically a whole west London street of bars, which they need for drug trafficking. And their operations spread to places like Lincolnshire and across to Spain."
And their reputation went before them as they reached the peak of their powers in the 1990s. Clarkson added: "They created fear just through their name, and undoubtedly a lot of violence was carried out on their behalf. I heard about a guy who owned a bar in west London and some of their people came in one night and simply demanded the keys. He handed them over and got out fast." They were also willing to take on some of the older remaining members of the gangland community. In August 1991, "Mad" Frankie Fraser, once a member of the Richardson gang, was shot in the head and almost killed outside a nightclub in Clerkenwell, in an attack attributed to the Adams gang. As the drug trafficking continued, they built up links with Yardie groups and the Colombian cocaine cartels, with Tommy reportedly negotiating an $80m credit agreement from his Latin American associates.
Throughout the Nineties, they seemed untouchable - immune from the law despite the best efforts of dozens of different inquiries, led by Scotland Yard, HM Customs and Excise and the Inland Revenue. Cases against them or their henchmen, like McCormack, either never got off the ground or somehow collapsed. Rumours about the gang having senior detectives in their pay, and their determination to "get" jurors were rife. The brothers carried on their business separate from normal society - they had no bank accounts, virtually no tax records and may not even directly own the homes they live in.
Then, in the late 1990s, things began to go awry. In 1998, Tommy Adams was convicted of organising an £8m hashish smuggling operation, and was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment. When a judge ordered that he surrender some of his profits or face a further five years, his wife turned up twice to the court, carrying £500,000 in cash inside a briefcase on each occasion.
In the autumn, Nahome, who was effectively their principal financial officer, was shot dead outside his north London mansion - in the same street as Terry Adams' home - in a classic underworld motorcycle hit of the type often attributed to the Adamses themselves. And Wynter, the man who was cleared of murdering Moseley, disappeared suddenly. It was later reported that Nahome and Wynter had died at the orders of another London gangland boss, who believed they had double-crossed him in a cannabis deal. They truth may never be known. But, from about this time, Patsy Adams began spending more time in his Spanish villa.
Terry Adams must have regretted the light that was trained on his activities by the McCormack trial. He carried on as normal, although he is believed to have made strenuous efforts to move as much of the business as possible into legitimate areas, such as property investment. This was hampered by the family's lack of involvement with any legitimate financial institutions or mechanisms - a problem which is said to have scuppered his plans to buy Tottenham Hotspur, which might have required some financial disclosures.
By the late 1990s, a new means arose to tackle the nation's biggest drug dealers. MI5, no longer focused on investigating Irish terrorism and Communist subversion, was charged with helping tackle the massive drug importation problem. Its officers are said to have bugged Adams' homes and cars and followed him closely over a period of several years, working in tandem with both the newly created National Crime Squad and the National Criminal Intelligence Agency, as well as the Inland Revenue.
Adams, who was almost certainly aware that he was being followed, is at this point thought to have been forced to invent spurious companies and organisations to account for his wealth, claiming at various points to have been employed as a jewellery designer and a public relations executive.
Eventually, in May 2003, Adams, a man, let us not forget, with a spotless record, was arrested and charged him with money laundering, tax evasion and handling stolen goods. His wife, Ruth, was charged with similar offences. Since then, while free on a bail of more than £1m, he has fought a lengthy game to delay his day in court, sacking his legal team twice, ordering the transcription of thousands of hours of taped conversations and once claiming that his IQ was too low to understand the charges.
In the end, he did what many do - a deal, culminating in Tuesday's brief court appearance, at which he surrended himself to prison officers. In return for admitting one charge of conspiring to hide £1m, the remaining charges against him and his wife, who has been seriously ill with a stomach complaint, have been allowed to "lie on the file" or, in other words, have been effectively dropped. When it comes to sentencing on 9 March, the judge will undoubtedly be reminded many times by Adams' barristers about the extent of his helpfulness and co-operation, as well as his previous unblemished record. He will have made careful plans for the next few years, including an inevitable appeal.
"He did what it is a matter of honour for people like him to do, which is to protect their families and particularly their wives from criminal prosecution," notes Clarkson.
So, does his demise mean that the Adams family are no longer a force to be reckoned with? "While they were certainly once the most feared family in the history of British crime, I think their influence is much less than it was, particularly since they have begun to legitimise much of their business," says Clarkson.
Another prominent expert on the British gangland and author of several books on the subject was less forthcoming. After pointing out that the Adamses were more feared than the Krays ever were, he added: "Look, I'd prefer not to have my name used, if you don't mind. You see, I don't think they have been diminished at all..."
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EXCLUSIVE An 'associate' lifts the lid on Britain's most feared crime syndicate We were in a club. One of the brothers nodded in a geezer's direction. 'That one. He's got to go.' Later that night the bloke was taken on a detour on his way home.. & stabbed to death
By Tony Thompson 11/02/2007
A FORMER henchman of Britain's most feared criminal clan The Adams Family today breaks gangland's code of silence to reveal the full chilling details of their reign of terror.
The horrifying revelations come after Terry Adams, "Godfather" of the North London-based crime empire, was finally put behind bars after three decades when he, his brothers and their gang made a mockery of the law.
The Adams gang, described as much worse than the Krays, are believed to be linked to at least 23 murders. Now a key member has told how they:
Tortured and maimed their victims.
Made millions from drug-running.
Kept their position as No 1 crime family by running a Mafia-style operation in which disloyalty was punished by instant death.
The former henchman, one of the gang's inner circle for 10 years, tells how Terry Adams chaired family conferences at his £2million mansion in Mill Hill, North London, as though they were board meetings of a multi-national PLC.
Billy (not his real name) witnessed protection rackets and gold smuggling, contract killings and drug running while working alongside Terry, 52, and his brothers Pat, 49 and Tommy, 47.
He says: "If they liked you, life was good. If you fell out with them, your life was over pretty quick.
And when it came down to the violent side of the business, they were always very strict about it.
"One time I was with Terry and his brothers in Ra Ras, a North London club they owned, and a villain came in.
"One of them nodded in the man's direction and said, 'That one, he's got to go'. Nothing more than that ever needed to be said. They would point a person out and you just knew that in a few days they wouldn't be around any more.
Later that night the bloke was grabbed on his way home and stabbed to death."
Adams, the eldest of 11 children, started as a street thug in Islington, North London, extorting money from market stall holders, but quickly moved into armed robbery - and then drugs.
Billy says: "Every few weeks I'd get a call from Terry or Tommy to tell me a load of puff (cannabis) had come in or that someone had hijacked a lorryload of snout or booze.
"When that happened the firms responsible would come to the Adams because they knew they had the contacts to help shift the stuff.
"It meant the Adams were making a ton of money without having to lift a finger. Other firms would bring the stuff in and us lot would sell it. They'd just get a big cut of the products. That's how they got so big, so fast.
Patsy... The 'crazy' brother (Pic: photonewsservice)
"Terry was the most level-headed one. His brother Tommy was a bit wild and Patsy could be very crazy at times.
"A lot of the people involved in this kind of business don't have a lot going on up top. But Terry and his brothers were a real class act. You could take them anywhere and they'd know when to behave. Terry in particular was always well dressed and in charge of whatever was going on. When he walked into a room, everyone stood up. He was like royalty."
The family stayed at the top of London's criminal tree for so long thanks to a string of extraordinary acquittals by juries. The first came in 1985 when Tommy Adams was cleared of handing some of the proceeds of the infamous Brinks-Mat robbery. The brothers had been accused on strong evidence of using their contacts to help the robbers dispose of the stolen gold bars in return for a hefty cut of the plunder.
Billy was present at the one of the most savage episodes of violence - even by the Adams' standards. Mayfair financier David McKenzie, who laundered money for the Adams Family, lost £1.5million in bad investments. So on April 8, 1997, he was summoned to the home of Terry Adams' brother-in-law John Potter.
For 20 minutes he was tortured by an Adams enforcer. He was kicked, slashed, beaten and left with his left ear and nose flapping off.
Billy says: "McKenzie didn't stand a chance. There was blood everywhere. I thought the guy who was attacking him was going to kill him there and then."
Two years later the man accused of the attack, Christopher McCormack, walked free from court. The jury found him not guilty by unanimous verdict even though McKenzie's blood was spattered on his jacket. They accepted the defence claim that a complete stranger had been responsible.
"Funny thing about the Adamses," says Billy. "Witnesses tended to forget a lot of stuff like names and faces where they were concerned."
Billy, who has now given up his life of crime, admits working alongside the gang earned him a fat cut of the profits. And he says: "Being part of their team was the best thing that ever happened to me. We were feared - but we were also respected by other villains.
"The Adams had a reputation for being some of the best money-earners in the business and they always made sure everyone got their fair share.
"The thing that made them so strong is that they were brothers who stuck together. While other gangs might have fallings out or disagreements, the Adams's were always bonded. It was like if you cut one of them, all the rest would start bleeding too. That made them formidable to go up against."
Terry Adams is now behind bars, not for the bloody mayhem he oversaw, but because he didn't realise MI5 had bugged every room in his antique-filled mansion in Mill Hill, North London. The evidence was enough to nail him for laundering £1million of his ill-gotten gains, a tiny fraction of his estimated £100 million fortune.
He pleaded guilty in return for charges against his wife Ruth being dropped. He will be sentenced on March 9 - and has been told he faces a "considerable time" in prison.
"Terry's facing 14 years and to a lot of people that might sound like a long time," Billy says. "But Terry always knew the risks he was taking. By the time he gets out, he'll still be young enough to enjoy himself.
"As for me, I'm glad I walked away from it. It was fun for a while - but I prefer to live my life without having to look over my shoulder the whole time."
'There was blood all over. The guy didn't stand a chance'
LINKED TO 23 GANGLAND MURDERS
Terry & Maxine
PUB accountant Terry Gooderham, 39, is said to have crossed the brothers by taking £250,000. He went to meet members of the clan in Epping Forest in 1989 and was killed in his Mercedes with girlfriend Maxine Arnold, 32.
According to underworld folklore, Gooderham begged: "You can't kill me in front of my girlfriend."
The shooter turned to Maxine, shot her dead, and said: "You're not with her now." Then he shot Gooderham.
IRISHMAN Tommy Roche, 32, was shot through the heart by a motorcycle hitman while working for a road repair firm near Heathrow in 1993.
Gangland sources said the hardman had offered to act as a go-between for a cocaine ring to solve his money problems. But he was suspected of giving away information about the gang... and paid the ultimate price.
TERRY Adams suspected the former British high jump champion of trying to shortchange him over a drugs deal and sent enforcer Gilbert Wynter to "talk it over" with him in 1994.
Moseley, 32, was virtually sliced in two with a Samurai sword. Wynter went on trial for murder, but the case was dropped when the key prosecution witness refused to give evidence.
DESPITE doing much of the Adams family's dirty work for them, notorious chief henchman and head "enforcer" Gilbert Wynter disappeared aged 37 in 1998 after eventually falling out with the brothers.
Gangland legend has it that he was killed and his body is buried deep in the concrete foundations of the Millennium Dome in Greenwich.
JEWELLER Solly Nahome - who helped melt down gold bars for the Adams family - was shot dead outside his home (right) in 1998 by a motorcycle gunman.
Those in the know say the gang took revenge on their previously trusted financial adviser because Nahome, 48, got too greedy, dipping into the family's profits and squirrelling away a reputed £25million in offshore accounts.
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Independent, The (London), Sep 18, 1998 by Paul Lashmar
Tommy is not your average criminal. He belongs to Britain's most feared gang of drug dealers and hit men. Bound by blood, they thought they were untouchable. But you can't rely on anything these days, not even Adams family values....
Several National Crime Squad detectives are probably nursing serious hangovers today. They have had much to celebrate. This elite team has finally debunked the myth that Britain's most notorious crime family - the Adams - is untouchable and unjailable.
Eighteen months ago, they arrested one of the brothers, 40-year- old Tommy Adams, in the middle of a drugs deal in the Britannia International Hotel in London's Docklands. He and several other men were charged with conspiracy to supply drugs and one of them with the possession of a Magnum revolver. On Wednesday, owing to the meticulous surveillance work over a year which led to the arrests, Tommy Adams and two of his lieutenants were given long jail sentences.
Over the last 10 years, the Adams have become notorious as the most infamous crime family in Britain, allegedly controlling a multimillion-pound drug dealing empire. As a result, the Adams are perhaps the most investigated family in criminal history: the subject of investigation and surveillance by Scotland Yard, Customs, Interpol, the Spanish police and even MI5 in their new anti-organised crime role. At one point in the early 1990s, a Customs contact told me there were seven separate co-ordinated teams of officers looking into the family's diverse criminal activities.
But the Adams were also rumoured to have had police officers and a Conservative MP in their pay. After a decade without a major conviction, it looked as though the gang were invincible and unconvictable. This week all that changed.
Outside the courtroom, the man who led the investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Philip Burrows, said: "This case is a success for the National Crime Squad and dispels the myth that there are people who are untouchable. Tommy Adams was certainly a member of the upper echelon of major criminals and we have proved that an untouchable strata of criminal does not exist. It sends a clear message to anybody else - you can run but you can't hide".
The Adams gang is part of a large extended working-class family from Islington in North London. The brothers who lead the gang were brought up on the Barnsbury Estate - just a revolver shot away from Tony Blair's former home. Their parents still live quietly in a council flat there. According to one visitor to the flat, "the living-room and hallway are festooned with photos of the children, especially the boys, when they were young innocents". There are 11 children in all; Tommy is the third oldest brother.
Islington has always been home to the creme de la creme of heavy proletarian villains - families like the Nashes, the Regans and the Smiths. They were so tough they kept the Krays out of North London in the 1960s. Some of the most notorious armed robbers of the 1970s - when armed robbery was in its heyday - hailed from Islington's backstreets. As a crime reporter, I was always fascinated by the way that in Islington, the old working- class criminal network and gentrifying professionals like the Blairs lived side by side, often in the same streets, without their worlds ever colliding.
In the 1970s and 80s, the supergrass system decimated the ranks of this criminal elite. With robber ratting on robber, the old criminal loyalties disintegrated. You cannot run a gang if you can't trust your cronies. The second oldest Adams brother, Patrick had been convicted of armed robbery in the 1970s and jailed for seven years. He learnt the lesson: in this new climate only close blood-ties could be depended upon.
In the 1980s, the armed robbery fraternity moved into drug dealing. The old-style villains professed disdain for drugs. But the younger generation, like the Adams's, had no such qualms about drugs. One of the younger Adams brothers had had a heroin problem for some years. By all accounts they were just a local Irish Catholic family with several tearaways in its rank, when, according to legend, the gang took on a local gangster, won and began to run a number of his drinking dens. The big time beckoned. They swiftly extended in pubs and clubs where drugs could be sold.
"They run everything like a corporate business," said one detective. "The gang leaders are like a board of directors, a long way back from actual operations." Pat, 43, is considered to be the most intelligent member of the family. Tommy was the money man. Their home base still remains Islington. Until recent years, their favourite haunt was the King Edward pub, near the Barnsbury Estate.
The controlled aura of violence around them is the key to their success. They are, quite simply, feared and do not make idle threats. They have been accused in the media of numerous gangland "hits". In 1996 the Independent on Sunday said the gang were linked to "several murders". According to popular legend they invented the "two on a bike" hit - a powerful trail bike draws up, the pillion passenger gets off, produces a gun and shoots the surprised target. The two hit men then roar off, their faces hidden by helmets. The victim is usually a rival or someone who has transgressed the unwritten rules of the underworld.
Two months ago, an underworld contact told me that some 20 people had been killed this way. But the former armed robber turned journalist, John McVicar, has said, "It is doubtful that they have killed in anything like the numbers that are currently touted. Certainly most of the hits attributed to them in the press do not carry their hallmark."
The family seems to have been involved in some gun play. Mickey, 33, the youngest brother, was convicted of possession of a firearm in the mid 1980s. Some years ago a dispute with another Islington crime family, the Rileys, culminated in a shoot-out in Finsbury Square. A lot of damage was done but nobody was killed.
Although said to be more violent than the Krays, the Adams have avoided their flamboyant and public lifestyle. In recent years the family have bought into legitimate business and own a string of clubs and bars as well as other property.
The brothers are all good-looking, keep themselves very fit and dress very stylishly - looking more like older professional footballers than gangsters. Tommy is far more handsome in real life than his police photo suggests.
The family do not like publicity. John McVicar first mentioned them in an article in 1987 and received a visit from a family associate who politely and firmly extracted a promise not to write about the family in the future.
When in 1992 McVicar again wrote about the family, detailing how one of the gang shot Mad Frankie Fraser in front of Turnmills Nite Club in Clerkenwell the previous August, McVicar received another visit. "Although I apologised for the breach, the emissary shrugged his shoulders and grimaced mournfully. "John," he said, "it saddens me to have to say it, and I hope it won't go any further, but if I were you I'd purchase some portable insurance, get in some target practice and be very careful of big trail bikes in your immediate vicinity." McVicar explained it was not appropriate for a journalist to go round carrying a gun.
As the family business has prospered, younger members of the extended family have been recruited to help with the criminal activities. Not all members of the family are criminals; some, including the Adams's parents and others of the 11 offspring are law- abiding and have held down normal jobs.
One of the biggest problems for the criminal side of the family is laundering the staggering amount of money acquired by the drugs dealing. They are believed to be worth over pounds 50m and the police watch like hawks for any evidence of Adams' business connections.
Like many Islington criminals the Adam brothers have nurtured close links with Hatton Garden, London's jewellery and gold centre, just a mile away from their "manor". Money from their drugs deals is laundered by certain traders who turn their cash into gold and other non traceable assets. The money has poured in and the family have all bought large properties. Tommy, who is married to a woman of Greek extraction and is the father of four, owns a pounds 450,000 three-storey town house in Mylne Street, King's Cross, not far from his parent's home. Older brother Pat now spends much of his time in his villa in Fuengirola on Spain's "Costa del Crime". It is said that these days, he does not like the company of criminals.
Over the years, the Adams family has become the bete noire of Scotland Yard. The Commissioner, Sir Paul Condon, must have been only too aware of the damaging effect of the Yard's failure to crack this high- profile gang, which had raised suspicions of police officers protecting the family.
Then, in early 1996, the National Crime Squad detectives assigned to the Adams had a break. They heard that Tommy Adams was running a large cannabis importation operation. As the subject of numerous target operations over the years, Tommy was highly security conscious. To prevent eavesdropping he controlled his lucrative drugs trade from the back of black cabs using two former school mates from Islington, Michael Papamichael and Ed Wilkinson as trusted aides.
From June 1996, drugs intelligence officers managed to plant tiny listening devices in the cabs, and hotel rooms, which secretly monitored dozens of conversations. They recorded incriminating discussions about the gang taking delivery of up to three tonnes of cannabis at a time, information about their dealing with Wilkinson was recorded admitting involvement with cocaine and boasting that he kept a .44 Magnum revolver in his mother's flowerpot. When the police team felt they had enough evidence they seized and arrested the gang.
Early this week, the trial began at Woolwich Crown Court. Everyone was prepared for at least two months in court. The defendants were said to be confident of acquittal. Certainly, members of the family gang had proved difficult to convict in the past. But then, on Wednesday morning, word went round the court that the defendants were going to plead guilty
Later in the afternoon Adams, and his lieutenants Michael Papamichael and Edward Wilkinson, all 40 years old, came in front of Judge Michael Carroll for sentencing. The Judge said it was clear they had run an illicit operation of considerable magnitude.
Tommy Adams was jailed for seven-and-a-half years and ordered to pay pounds 1m in a confiscation order. Failure to pay within one year will result in an additional five years on his sentence. Papamichael, of Liverpool Road, Islington, was sentenced to six years and ordered to pay pounds 70,000. Wilkinson, of Inglebert Street, Islington, was jailed for nine years for conspiracy to supply cannabis and cocaine and the possession of a revolver. He was ordered to pay pounds 30,000 or face a further jail sentence. After being sentenced, Adams, wearing a grey tracksuit, was led laughing from the dock.
A month ago, the National Crime Squad undertook a further series of raids. Detectives from Scotland Yard raided addresses in London and south east England. Twelve people were arrested and charged with various offences including attempted murder.
The family are now licking their wounds. John McVicar, who has written extensively about the family, said yesterday that they "have hit a series of rocks here. Aside from Tommy's conviction, their associate Gilbert Wytner was killed in March and another close associate has cancer".
Things are apparently not well within the family. Oldest brother Terry, 44, and Tommy had a full-scale row in the visitors' area at Belmarsh Prison shortly before the trial. But as one underworld source said yesterday, "The Adams are not finished yet".
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There will be organised criminals and crime families as long as crime exists - but the British underworld dynasties like the Krays and the Richardsons, based on twisted ideals of loyalty, honour and always looking after their 'dear old mum' will die with the name that became the most feared in London - Adams.
TERRY ADAMS: THE LAST BRITISH GANGSTER AND THE 'GOODFELLAS' TAPES by Rex Williamson-Travis
For ten years police and MI5 mounted an unprecedented joint operation to nail Terry Adams for serious crime.
But Adams, 52, knew he was being bugged and he and his wife Ruth mocked the police by faking the sounds of passionate sex for the microphones.
The massive investigation into a man believed to be involved in 23 murders could only scrape together enough evidence to put him on trial for laundering his own wages.
During the operation his bent accountant Solly Nahome was murdered in a drive-by shooting and, according to gangland legend, his top hitman Gilbert Wynter became part of the foundations of the Millennium Dome.
No one has ever been charged.
After he was arrested 'The Guv'nor' was able to delay his case for three years and do a deal with the police that would keep his wife Ruth Adams, 46, out of jail.
He even managed to force prosecutors to accept he had not been involved in serious crime since 1993.
For a man who will be treated like a god in jail, his effective sentence of three and a half years was 'a right result' and Adams had once again proved himself the master criminal worthy of his infamous name.
THE 'A-TEAM '
Together with younger brothers Pat, 49, and Tommy, 47, he headed the north London family known as the 'A Team' who were once described as 'worse than the Krays.'
The Irish Catholic brothers forged their criminal careers extorting classmates money at school in Islington, north London and made millions from the drugs trade in the 1980s.
They ran pubs across London, a West End club, a trendy restaurant in Smithfield, a Hatton Garden jewellery shop and made at least £200 million.
The Adams family also traded in extreme violence and were responsible for torturing a Mayfair based businessman so badly his nose and ear were left hanging by a sliver of skin.
Notorious hard man 'Mad' Frankie Frazer was lucky to survive when he was shot in the head by an Adams associate in August 1991.
Another victim included former British high-jump champion Claude Moseley who worked as one of their drug dealers.
Moseley, had been skimming money, had a samurai sword plunged so deeply into his back by Wynter it almost cut him in two.
Wynter was tried at the Old Bailey for murder but walked free after the main prosecution witness mysteriously refused to give evidence.
The family had the muscle to pay a spy within the CPS who was later jailed for passing on secrets to another family associate.
They had links to Colombian cocaine cartels, the Russian mafia and tried to buy Tottenham Hotspur FC.
The Adams name was so feared they franchised it out to allow lesser criminals to claim they worked for the brothers - for a generous fee.
Tommy was jailed for seven and half years in 1998 after he admitted an £8 million cannabis smuggling plot.
But Terry has been so skilful at avoiding the police his last conviction was for a firearms offence in 1992 and he retired from the 'sharp end' of the business shortly afterwards.
Prosecutor Andrew Mitchell, QC, told the Old Bailey: 'He comes with a pedigree as one of a family whose name had a currency all of its own in the underworld.
'A hallmark of his career was his ability to keep his evidential distance from any of the violence and other crime from which he undoubtedly profited.
'By the early 1990s he had been so successful he was able to retire, content that the wealth and status he had accumulated by the age of 35 - an age when most people's legitimate careers have ten years to go before taking off - would allow him and his family to live in the manner to which they were accustomed for the rest of their lives.
'It was a prosperous life and included flying first class around the world staying in the most exclusive hotels on the chic Italian Riviera, indulging in a passion for expensive watches and jewellery motorbikes and private education.
THE NEED FOR MONEY
'Whenever the need arose for money cash appeared.'
Police found £60,000 in a shoe box when they raided his mansion in Dukes Avenue, Finchley, north London, but for Adams it was 'loose change.'
The bulk of his fortune had been salted away by Nahome who is thought to have secreted £25 million in offshore accounts and property purchases.
Nahome was the husband of Adams's co-defendant Joanna Barnes, who took over his affairs when he was shot dead.
They set up sham companies to provide bogus employment for Adams giving him the title of 'PR consultant' or 'jewellery designer.'
The Adams home was bugged when he ordered a Sky satellite dish and within days surveillance teams were logging a list of visitors which read like a 'Who's Who' of British crime.
There were enforcers such as Christopher McCormack, Simon Wooder and Paul Tiernan together with international professional money launderers such as Parvezi Ullah and Mooshe Almog, the Old Bailey heard.
The transcripts of their conversations read like extracts from the 'Goodfellas' film script and extracts can be read below.
Faced with the evidence of the tapes, Adams who last lived in a gated mansion property in Arkley near Barnet was forced to admit money laundering.
HOME STUFFED WITH ANTIQUES
At his home he had antiques worth £500,000 incIuding 19th century Meissen figures, a Tiffany silver cup, a Chinese lacquered Davenport, a Queen Anne gilt mirror, Picasso still life linocuts, and Henry Moore etchings.
His known property portfolio was valued at £1.24 million in 2000 and has probably quadrupled in value.Terry and Ruth Adams spent £222,000 renovating their home in Barnet - the security system alone cost £12,000.
He also owns a fabulous villa in Cyprus complete with a luxury yacht.
But the prosecution were only able to trace assets of £1,110,743 which had come from the proceeds of crime and will attempt to claw back just £750,000.
Terry Adams can look forward to a long and happy retirement. Barnes was ordered to pay a total of £10,000 for forging her dead husband's signature in Adams documents.
She was ordered her to pay a £5,000 fine as well as £2,500 towards the cost of the prosecution and £2,500 in defence costs.
WILL TERRY SETTLE THE BILL?
Asked outside court if Terry might help settle the bill she replied sarcastically: 'Do you think so?'
But Adams might be a bit short of cash himself - he was ordered to pay a legal bill of £4.7 million.
EXCERPTS OF THE 'GOODFELLAS' TAPES RECORDED AT THE ADAMS HOME IN DUKES AVENUE, FINCHLEY, NORTH LONDON IN 1997
Terry Adams is watching 'Blind Date' on television with his brother Danny and Paul Tiernan when he suddenly starts ranting about a family associate.
ADAMS: Paul, all I'm saying to you mate, we're all straight. What we've done in our past is now straight - alright.
Paul TIERNAN: It's history, fucking hell.
ADAMS: Listen when you've got a so called brother having it with fucking cracky informers, smack dealers, smack heads that have got to do with fucking old bill. They're putting the smack out to these people who talk.
TIERNAN: It's shit.
ADAMS: Who gets us put into the newspapers? Right, he's trying to get us all done so he can have his freedom. Worse than a grass, because he's had it with a grass.
TIERNAN: I don't see the problem for...
ADAMS: We all sit round and say anyone who has had it with a grass...We've got to play fucking detectives. It's right Dan it's right. Right is right. Anyone who has it with a grass is a grass, on my daughter's life Dan, when he comes out I'm gonna say that to him before I'll do what I'll do. I know what I'm gonna do. Dan, on my baby's life I'm gonna butt him. I gonna go to him, I know what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna smash him in the face with an iron bar. I'm gonna go up to him on my baby's life. I'm gonna do him an iron bar. let God know that Dan. l'm gonna go up to him, say to him...
Danny ADAMS: What are you on mate? (He laughs) You are mad.
ADAMS: Dan, I'm gonna to up to him and say to him on his doorstep Dan. I'll do it on the pavement. I'm just gonna say, I'll do it in front of him. I'll do it in front of his kids. I'm gonna do it Dan, Dan, wherever I get him. If I have my mood Dan, I'll do him with an iron bar.I'm gonna go to him: ''I'm the cunt, I'm the cunt.'' I am gonna fucking have him. If he goes down Dan I'm gonna put my foot there. You won't be with me. (He becomes animated) I'm gonna do them Dan, I know that, I am gonna fucking do it.
Danny ADAMS: Tel, I will be there mate.
ADAMS: Me and Bobby Warren was in a car once right Dan. There was a geezer that was lying to us Dan, right, on my baby's life. Dan, I've got something about me when things happen. When I hit someone I do them damage. And I went to the geezer. Stealing 100 grand it was Dan, or eighty grand, and I went crack. On my baby's life Dan, his kneecap come right out there.
Danny ADAMS: (laughs)
ADAMS: All white Dan, all bone and...on my baby's life every time I do damage Dan. If I have a fight I cut them with my knuckles.
ADAMS ON...THE TAXMAN
ADAMS: What they done here, sending more tax bills, why they doing it to me, I've already sorted all this out.
Tony GOLDSBOROUGH: Yeah, but you have to pay them every fucking year.
ADAMS: I know, I paid 'em.
GOLDSBOROUGH: What for, this year, last year?
ADAMS: They want £43,000.
GOLDSBOROUGH: Fucking aida.
ADAMS: And this if for the year 96 - already been paid, paid that 96. What they doing? They're giving me that money back, they giving me that one, you know.
GOLDSBOROUGH: I hope they have for your sake.
ADAMS: They have.
GOLDSBOROUGH: I hope you're right (He reads the letter from the taman) Confirms that no adjustment is payable, the amount shows opposite please arrange for payment. No, you got, Tel - Tax year 89/90.
GOLDSBOROUGH: That's what it says on there.
ADAMS: Paid it. Paid 91, 90/91 paid it, so what they going on about, these boys. See they're knocking em down all the time. I had about six, seven of these Tone.
ADAMS: They're knocking em down bit by bit, they're just giving me a hard time because of who I am Tone.
GOLDSBOROUGH: Better get them to your accountant.
ADAMS ON...HIS MOTHER
(Flo Adams offers TERRY a hot drink)
TERRY ADAMS: Mum, I don't drink tea.
FLO: Oh sorry. What do you reckon you are getting on now, everything alright?
FLO: Better now.
ADAMS: Who with? I 've got some news to tell you Mum. Everything I do Mum, right, I do straight.
ADAMS: Right, they've got listening devices in this house, I know that, right.
FLO: I don't believe that.
ADAMS: Yeah, they've got listening devices in this house. Me and Ruth have a right giggle with them right, you understand.
ADAMS: We have a right thing, you know, like, er...
FLO: Yeah, I know what you mean.
ADAMS: Dennis has had conversations with me people, things like that.. Cause they do. We give 'em things to talk about.
FLO: Yeah. Ain't it terrible though Tel.
FLO: That' you're on tape.
ADAMS ON...JEWS: (to Solly Nahome) See these people are Jews, Sol. They can't help fucking taking. I'm right off the Jewish people, Sol I am. I really am Sol. And they're gonna get three large for fucking nothing.
ADAMS ON...HIS CAREER AS A 'CONSULTANT.'
'I can consult about anything, I can consult about anything you want me to, what do you want me to consult you about? Consult me about property, I can consult about gold, I can consult about stocks and shares...they're my firms - consultancy, so if you ever need anything done consultancy, always throw a bit of work my way.'
The reputation of Terry Adams was such that some photographers were too scared to take pictures without long distance lenses.
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