Late superstar Frank Sinatra managed to escape arrest with a briefcase
containing $3.5 million (GBP1.8 million) in cash during his brief serving as a
mafia courier, according to celebrity pal Jerry Lewis.
In the forthcoming unauthorised biography SINATRA: THE LIFE, authors
ANTHONY SUMMERS and ROBBYN SWAN have written about Sinatra's alleged brush with
customs officers, as told to them by 79-year-old funnyman.
Despite Sinatra's repeated denials of mafia connections, the FEDERAL
BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (FBI) released files seven years ago (98) claiming the
MY WAY crooner was a close acquaintance of Chicago gangster SAM GIANCANA.
The FBI files also suggested Sinatra had contact with notorious mobster
Lucky Luciano during a 1947 trip to pre-communist Cuba.
In the book, Lewis says, "He volunteered to be a messenger for them (the
mafia). And he almost got caught once... in New York."
Lewis told Summers and Swan, Sinatra was stopped at customs with the
costly luggage, containing "three and a half million in fifties".
Luckily for Sinatra, his screaming fans quickly spotted their idol and
rushed for him, leaving officers to rush Ol' Blue Eyes through customs.
Summers and Swan do not state Lewis' claims as an eyewitness account, but
rather "as a fact of which he had knowledge".
Lewis said the customs incident happened soon after Luciano was deported
from the US to Italy in 1946.