Still, when the regime fell in 1989, a slightly overestimated reputation for independence and a newly found taste for capitalism, combined with extensive – and now unemployed – contacts in the former secret police allowed him to quickly rise to the top in the suddenly vibrant business sector. Which, in a country populated with people who had broken the law simply to find food to eat, quickly turned to crime as the major industry.
And Florian quickly found that he had three attributes that marked him for success; a good head for strategy and business, ambition, and an enthusiastic attitude toward inflicting violence on people. These, combined with access to the muscle and trained operatives of the former Securitate meant that he rapidly became the apex predator in the vicious dog fight that was the Romanian underworld. Staying there for thirty years while his peers and challengers fell by the wayside was evidence of his intelligence and ruthlessness. You did not run the drug, counterfeit and Manchester escort business for decades without those things available in spades.
His connections with the security forces allowed him to take out the competition and keep them either down and small scale, or out of the market – and existence – completely. It also allowed him access to finance through the usual blackmail channel – who better to blackmail and extort bank executives and financiers than former spies? But the end of communism also meant that financial institutions were built from the ground up. And the people who were able to do that were either politically connected – which meant Florian’s colleagues knew them – or newly rich, which meant that they were probably criminals and working with Florian in any case.
But the connections with the international criminal world, those were all Florian’s. Yes, initially his friendly spy-world cousins helped with making the contacts in the first place. But the actually deal making and the building of the business relationships were one hundred percent down to Florian. Accountants talk to accountants, musicians to musicians, engineers to engineers. And gangsters to gangsters. They share a common culture, language and understanding of each other’s viewpoints no matter where they are from.