Nikolaus had been out of the office for three days this week. He was arranging for the quiet marketing and distribution of new embryonic stem-cell lines. Thankfully the party had some scientific members who understood these things. Nikolaus was simply there to discuss the business side of the arrangement. The first lines were less than a month away. Team members at the secured location had already done the extraction and were culturing the cells. They had taken over one of the small pilot labs that had been equipped for just such an operation.
In the back of his mind, Nikolaus was already thinking of a plan to build a second secured location in a country without a ban on the creation of such cell lines. Getting these cells into the American markets was a bit tricky. You could approach only private institutions that weren’t receiving any government money. Thankfully, there were some and they had deep pockets. They were banned from creating any new lines, but could purchase any lines in existence, even if they were new. Selling to locations that received government funding was a much tougher needle to thread and Nikolaus wanted no part of it for now.
There were several countries where this corporation had operations that didn’t have bans on creating new stem-cell lines. He was kind of shocked that some enterprising companies hadn’t started doing just what he was doing, but there was always that religion issue to deal with and most of them had some leaders who were religious or highly religious influential stockholders.
Getting a second site constructed on a smaller scale should be an easy sell for the board. True, the party controlled many of them, but he still needed to come up with a story they could sell to the media and shareholders. Now that the first site was turning a profit from the storage contracts, it would be easy to pitch the need for a second location to spread out the risk.
After the Lutton bombing everyone was a bit on edge about an al-Qaeda attack. The recent public roundups of al-Qaeda cell members in Germany had many people on a heightened state of alert. The Lutton bombing was larger and more coordinated than anyone had expected. Several bombs of the size used in that attack, detonated at the correct locations, could damage, if not take out, the freezer storage. They wouldn’t need to make it into the compound, but if they did, replacing all of those doses would be a major financial loss.
When Nikolaus got back to his desk, he asked one of the lawyers working for the corporation who was a loyal party member to identify countries that did not have extradition treaties with either Germany or the United States. Once he had that list he would compare it to the list of locations the company already had operations. From there he should be able to easily identify a site and a plan.
The second selling point for this entire plan would be the reduced air time to some of the subscribing locations. Any country which didn’t have extradition treaties would not be in Europe. It would make sense for Nikolaus to set up a residence near this site as well. Nothing too extravagant, just large enough for himself and several party elders in case they had to hide out for a while. There would need to be a secured room containing lots of cash in different currencies, passports and other identity-making equipment — your standard safe house fare for war criminals and other high-profile political refugees. They should also stock some of those language-learning tapes. Anyone running from this operation was going to need to hide for a very long time.
With that thought done Nikolaus turned his attention to the reports from operations. The team must be staying at the camp these days. Black market organ sales had brought in a cool $20 million. The nice thing about having a company this size was it was easy to hide revenue sources below $100 million. Having some black ops contracts for government work made it even easier. Nobody questioned unnamed revenue sources when they closed the books on a quarter. The only problem was handling the cash.
Wall Street seemed to already be pleased with the results. Even some of the “ethical conscience” funds had been investing in the company because some of the board members appeared so religious to them. Nikolaus had to laugh at that. If they only knew! Then again, all of the really hideous crimes against humanity had been done in the name of one religion or another, so why shouldn’t they be investing in this?
Briefly, Nikolaus wondered how short the careers would be of those Wall Street analysts who were going on business talk shows pushing their strong buy rating of his company once the truth came out. Eventually it would come out. How soon Nikolaus did not know. When the body count started approaching tens of thousands he was sure something would start to leak. It would take years for the team he had in place to reach that kind of count, but Nikolaus was a forward thinker.
They were already assembling a second team. Heidi had been helping him in selecting members from the loyal party roster. There were hundreds to choose from and only the surgeons needed real skills. Heidi said she could teach any dock worker to use the machine she was using for blood extraction as long as they weren’t squeamish. It may seem ghoulish, but they tended to conduct the interviews in a room where people were either donating blood or a table with pouches of blood being sorted for shipment. Some candidates didn’t make it five minutes.
Vladimir was quite shocked when he opened up the Web page for his personal email account and found a message from his cousin Lenny. It wasn’t his birthday or a major holiday and those were usually the only two times he heard from the man. It wasn’t like Vladimir made it easy to keep in touch. He set up this email address for family members and checked it a few times per month. The life he had led made cutting most family ties a requirement. You never knew when someone would try to use your family to get to you. As a result this was a nondescript email address paid for via a false identity he never used during an operation.
Long time no chat. Call me on this cell phone number when you are free to talk. Have a favor to ask of you. Need to hear from you before Friday.
At the bottom of the email was a cell phone number Nikolaus didn’t recognize. He assumed something bad had happened. Vladimir knew a little about his cousin’s operation. He had even done some analysis for him many years ago. Lenny probably needed a place to hide from the law or someone to launder some money for him. Still he was family and one of the few Vladimir had any contact with.
He reached over and opened up a brand new disposable cell phone. Vladimir bought these a box at a time, always the same model so he had lots of interchangeable chargers and batteries. He put a fresh battery in the phone and made the call. It would be the wee hours of the morning in the United States, but Lenny hadn’t specified a time.
After the third ring Vladimir heard a very sleepy “Hello.” “Hello, Lenny, been quite a while.” “Vlad?”
Vladimir could tell the cobwebs were starting to clear.
“Let me go downstairs and get some caffeine. Call me back if I lose you.”
“What is the nature of the favor you need?” Vladimir could hear the sound of doors closing and feet padding down some steps.
“I was wondering if you still had an electronic trading account?” “I have several and access to others. Why do you ask?” “There is a series of stock plays we are doing which is simply going to be too big for us to do here and hide. I need to transfer some cash to one or more of your accounts and tell you what to do. Need the trading accounts to be completely offshore and personal so the SEC can’t really inquire on them if they try.” Vladimir heard the distinct sound of a soda can being opened and someone swallowing.
“How much are you looking to transfer?” “I won’t have an exact number until later this morning. Need to do lots of small transfers to avoid suspicion. I’d like to put about half a billion in play if I can.” “There is no way to do that through a personal account. Even through a dozen personal accounts. This would have to go through one of my contacts back home that has an investment firm like yours. I could only handle about $5 million spread across four accounts.” “What kind of margin would your contact be looking to make?” “This wouldn’t be the kind of contact you could sue if they tried to hang onto the money.” “I pretty much figured that, given the life you lead or at least used to lead. I was hoping you were set up to handle it yourself. Played correctly, we could be looking at a return of over twenty dollars per share in less than six weeks.” “How certain is this, Lenny?”
“Certain enough I can’t risk making the play here. I’ve made too much this year to remain below radar much longer. I have one offshore company I set up to do plays like this, but there is a possibility it could be tied back to me. I will have to keep the play there rather small. Two to three million shares, tops.”
“Do you still have a passport?”
“Will you have this phone with you a few hours from now?” “Yes, but why are you asking about a passport?” “I will run this past my contact. If he is up for it he will want to meet you face to face and hash out the terms. When you get to the office in the morning, call your travel agent and have them arrange a business trip to Nuremberg, Germany. Have them book you a suite at the Maritim Hotel in Nuremberg.” “Why am I booking the travel before you know they are interested?” “You will have to get a one to three-day business trip visa so best to slam it through a travel agent. They will need the morning to push it through to get you on a flight out tomorrow. Above all, don’t lie at customs. Tell them you are here on business to talk with another investment firm. Be sure to have your business cards with you and that your company pays for the flight.
“They will probably want more of a cut than you are willing to pay unless you have more than this play for them to run with. If I still know you this is one of a series of plays you have orchestrated, but they have become too successful so now you need to spread the income around to avoid going to prison, correct?”
“Nice to hear from you again, too, Vlad,” Lenny laughed into the phone.
Vladimir laughed as well. “Bring some company letterhead with you so you can print up some kind of letter of intent for exchange of business analysis information. Nothing binding, just something which can be signed and placed on file in case there is some issue later with the authorities.”
“This won’t be a German firm, will it?” “Goodness no! That would be too risky … well, too risky on such short notice. Bah! Couldn’t risk going through the German legal system. Don’t worry, the company will be Russian. The courts there are too busy prosecuting murderers and drug dealers to bother with people who made money in the American stock market.” “See you soon, then.”
A few short hours later, Lenny arrived at the office and sent an email to the travel agency his company used. He retrieved his passport from his personal office safe and put it in his briefcase. While he had the thing open he went out to the receptionist desk and got some company letterhead and put it in a big manila envelope to protect it.
With that out of the way he began checking the cash position of the company. There was over $500 million cash on hand in the general fund after last night’s clearing. The various other accounts had lots of cash as well.
Jeremy arrived while Lenny was still going through the cash positions.
“You’re in early,” he said as he walked into Lenny’s office.
“Glad you are here!” said Lenny. “I’m going to be flying to Germany later today to meet my cousin and someone who can help us.”
Lenny opened one of his desk drawers and pulled out some legal forms, then handed them to Jeremy. “We need to go to the bank and get these forms taken care of as soon as possible. The manager usually gets in around 8:30. Call over there and make an appointment for us.”
“What is this about?”
“I will be in Germany closing the deal, so I will need to authorize you to sign for the wire transfer. We will have to get these forms signed and notarized there this morning, and they will have to get a user ID, password, and authorization code for you. Our bank won’t let this kind of transfer go out without an authorized signature.”
“I already have an account to do transfers. I do them all of the time.” “That account has a $100K limit. We will be sending $500 million out to be put into play. I’m assuming our new business partner will need the transfer to complete before I leave. If you haven’t guessed, yes, I heard from my cousin and the play is too big for any of his accounts. He has contacts at a firm much like this one in Russia. To make it all legal-like we will issue a letter of intent to invest in their company and let them put money to work for us.” “We aren’t going to handle the play through our offshore company?” “A small portion of it, yes. The other accounts will all make small plays as well. I hate to admit it, but that Ivy League boy was correct.” “Which one?”
“There’s a difference?”
Both men laughed.
“When he said this play was too big to avoid scrutiny, he was correct. A Russian investment firm making a big play is outside of the reach of the SEC. We will get a much smaller return, how much smaller I do not know yet, but we will avoid prison and trial. I’m still worried about the offshore company we set up. The lawyer who did it was a putz. I honestly believe he got a job there because he was someone’s brother-in-law.”
“I’m serious!” Lenny said, still bustling around gathering things up.
“Perhaps your cousin knows a reliable Russian lawyer who can set us up a corporation in a country without a U.S. Extradition treaty.”
That stopped Lenny in his tracks. “I hadn’t thought about that. You know, this new investment firm might be able to do it for us as part of the deal. It will give them a clean place to park our money.”
“I just hope they have better lawyers than we had doing it,” said Jeremy.
“Isn’t that the truth! I still cannot believe I let him do it.” “Well, I had best go call the bank.” “Yes, yes, off with you now.”
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