“We have quite a few customers we advise privately. Being able to bleed them the Pytho story and being able to tell them when to get out would make them very happy. If they can make eight dollars per share in a week, they are more than happy. We have some old people we do investing for. They don’t have a lot of tolerance for risk since this is all they have. That kind of turnaround will go a long way toward making their lives easier. Call me soft, but when I find a small score like that I run it for them. Most need more than a 6 percent return to survive.”
“Then they should be very happy. When I tell you to start shorting First Global you should take half of their profit from that trade and use it to back some short sells, it will net them a much larger return and be almost the same risk level.”
“Assuming we get to make that play.” “Yes, of course.”
“Until then, you have the short hop of Pytho, then the major bump of First Global. Even if some country does out First Global before we can play it, we should still get to play Big Four Consulting in full.”
“You did not inform us as to the play with them.” “They own a big piece of the company providing the offshore data center services. They are also the ones who sold the idea to the board at First Global. They are the ones assisting with the rollout of Pytho software at First Global. The only play for them is a shred, and it doesn’t matter who blows the whistle on First Global to make it happen. Of course, it will be better if they wait until the U.S. Data centers have all been migrated. The shred will have a lot more effect when it comes with congressional hearings and criminal indictments.” Vladimir had believed himself the only one in the family with this gift until that moment. Lenny obviously had the same ability, just far less desire when it came to dodging bullets.
Prior to coming here Vladimir had received several emails from Hans. He knew for a fact Big Four Consulting was basically running the operation in India for data center migrations. He had not heard who the client was other than it was a large bank from the U.S. That handled close to one-third of the world’s finances thanks to all of its recent acquisitions. There was no way he could tell them how he got that information. He had taken it out of a message he found in the “sent items” box of the trainer’s email system.
“It is good you don’t need to make the shredding play on First Global to be happy with your return,” Vladimir finally offered. “They may tumble hard for other reasons.”
Now everyone was paying attention to Vladimir.
“One of the data centers to which they have been relocating is being canvassed by al-Qaeda. We don’t know what, when, how or even if, but we do know the where.”
“And you are unable to tell us who the we is?” asked Dimitri.
“Naturally. I have not figured out what they intend to gain by any attack on the data center. The bank has twin data centers and fault-tolerant data storage. If one location goes down, the other will simply handle all of the transactions. Worst case, some of the tellers will need to log in again. Bombing just one location won’t do any more than kill a handful of people. A bus bombing kills more and affects more.”
“At any rate, it will not affect the other shorting opportunity. Big Four Consulting has had a significant revenue increase since the migration project began. I expect they will have a larger revenue increase when they announce their new quarterly numbers due to participating in the sale of this software and its rollout. That will push their stock up. Once First Global gets nailed for violating federal regulations by migrating the data centers it will be a short matter of time before Big Four is fingered as the one doing the sale. Their stock will free-fall while they are under investigation. That’s an easy twenty dollars-per-share play, but I start getting out around fifteen dollars unless they free-fall so fast they are well past a fifteen dollars per share loss before I can get the orders in to cover shorts.”
“So, you are asking us to facilitate some trades for you based upon your instructions. We are free to ride along on those instructions as long as we don’t get too greedy, causing all of us to be put under investigation. At some point in the near future you will want most of your money back. Correct?”
“Actually, if you are up for it I have one more task for you.” “Go on.”
“Quite some time ago I had a law firm set up an offshore company in a country which doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the U.S. I don’t trust what they did, so haven’t done much with it. I would like you to set up an offshore trading company for me in a country which has no extradition treaties with the U.S. Most of the money should be put into that company rather than sent back to me.”
“Russia does not have extradition treaties with United States. Setting up a company will take a month or so. We will have our people do it. Do you mind if it is in the same office building as one of our locations? We have offices in Moscow and the Ukraine capital, Kyyiv. If you want to keep costs down Kyyiv will be your location.”
“No, that would be fine. I would want an actual office with air conditioning, Internet, the usual business tools. Would need a couple actual offices in the office space itself. I may send someone there to train some staff so it doesn’t look like just a shell.”
“We might be able to share some staff. We have two part-time secretarial people there and one wants to go full time now that she is married and thinking of having a family. It would be good if the other was working part-time for you so we could call her in when the other goes on maternity leave.”
“That might work out. I haven’t approached any of my staff about running another location yet, so might have a hard sell in front of me. Depends on what trappings could be had. The one I have in mind is rather young. He would want a nice place, clubs to hang out in, fancy car, the usual trappings of wealthy youth.”
Dimitri thought for a while then said, “I like that you are up front about this. I do my investing much as you do. Getting information ahead of everyone else allows one to make a killing as long as one doesn’t get too greedy. We have recently had a few bouts with greed in my company so have been using the offshore company to handle a lot of our transactions. It has been a long time since I had inside information this far in advance. We can even structure this deal legally.”
“Write up a letter of intent to enter a business relationship. For a 10 percent establishment fee we will establish an offshore company meeting your requirements. You will invest your half a billion in that company. In that letter also state that we are contracting your firm to provide investment analysis services to us on a per-transaction basis not to exceed 10 percent of profit. Once that letter is filed and posted on the Internet in a PR-type place, it will allow just cause for funds to flow freely between our two companies.”
“That does sound rather clean. Do you have that all down, Vlad?” Vladimir had started taking notes as soon as Dimitri stated the content for the letter. “Yes. I can go down to the business center with your letterhead and have four copies up for signature in under half an hour.” “Do you want to be included in this deal, Vladimir?” asked Dimitri.
“No. Lenny is my cousin. You do have one of my trading accounts in your possession. Simply invest according to the play Lenny has laid out. At some point I may have a new identity when I hit Lenny up for a job at his new offshore company. Make sure the office building has wheelchair accessibility.”
“Not a problem, Vlad!” said Lenny. “I honestly hadn’t thought about retiring until today. If I had you running the offshore place and the guy I’m grooming back home running that company, I could even afford the divorce my wife would serve me with if I decided to move to Russia.”
Now everyone really laughed.
“Only if we set it up so her lawyer cannot get to it,” put in Dimitri.
All the men roared at that one.
It was the wee hours of the morning when the disposable cell phone Lenny had given him rang. Jeremy fumbled around groggily for it. Lenny had instructed him to keep the phone by his bed along with a pad and a pen.
“Hello, Jeremy. You need to get into the office as quickly as possible.” Jeremy looked at the clock. “We don’t open for another five hours,” he replied.
“There is a pair of faxes on the fax machine which are for your eyes only. The first is our signed letter of intent with Dimitri’s company to enter a business relationship. I’m bringing the originals with me in my briefcase. The second is the instructions for where to send the wire transfer. You can enter the wire transfer information long before the bank opens. It will happen once they can call to verify. We need them to get on this as soon as they open.”
“OK. Is there anything I need to write down?” “No, I put it all in the second fax. I didn’t know if I would be able to fax to the United States from here. There is something you need to think about though.” “What is that?”
“How would you feel about spending a couple of years in Kyyiv?” “Doing what?”
“Running our new location, at least until we can bring someone in and get them up to your level.”
“I’ll have to think about it.”
“Fine. Just remember that Russian women are beautiful, willing, and few people here make much money. A man with a car, even a Ford Taurus, could get lucky nearly every night.”
“It’s not a matter of luck,” laughed Jeremy. A little more awake now, he said, “Apparently you forgot about the weekend you are funding for me. I fly out this afternoon.”
“I haven’t forgotten. Already got your receipt for the jewelry. I was impressed with your restraint. You only hit me for $5K.”
“Wasn’t like I was buying a wedding ring, just enough to flatten all her girlfriends when they see it.”
“You do know how to play the game, son. Cruise on into the office and deal with the faxes. Be sure to put your real cell phone number in for the confirm phone number. Put my cell phone in as the second confirm in case they cannot get you. Leave your cell phone number with the receptionist so she can try contacting you if the bank fails. Take the rest of the day off, you’ve earned it.”
“I planned on it,” laughed Jeremy.
After hanging up Jeremy wondered what it would be like in Kyyiv. He put on some jeans and drove to the office. He retrieved both faxes and logged into the bank’s secure system and keyed in the information for the wire transfer listing both his cell phone and Lenny’s as numbers to call for voice confirm. He then left a note for the receptionist stating the bank might call if they couldn’t reach either himself or Lenny on their cell phones. At the bottom he put his cell phone number.
With his work duties done, he grabbed a soda and started doing a few Web searches. Just to keep Lenny honest his first search was “Ukraine women.” Just as in this country more porn sites popped up than a person could visit in a lifetime. One thing he noticed is that most of the Ukraine women posing for porn didn’t have a bunch of discarded credit cards pumped into their breasts as American women did. They pretty much seemed to be natural beauties. He had run into some Russian women at college, so he knew something about them.
His next search was “Ukraine Income” which turned up a report from the CIA. Using 1995 U.S. Dollars as the constant, in 2001 the per capita Gross Domestic Product was $4,200. The World Bank put household consumption at $558 and 29 percent of the people had incomes below the poverty line. “If you wanted to retire as a dirty old man this would be a place to do it,” he laughed.
Why he was still interested he had no idea. Perhaps it was just the analyst lifestyle. His next search was “Kyyiv historical weather.” That turned up a page stating the climate was much like that of the Midwest U.S.: cold in winter, hot in summer. Average winter temperature was around 19 degrees F and average summer temperature was around 67 degrees F. Not out of range, he thought.
Might as well round out the search, he thought. He did one more search for “Kyyiv real estate housing.” This brought up quite a bit of information, but only one site was close to what he had expected to find for real estate. It had other information, such as that in Kyyiv they drive on the right side of the road. Always good to know something like that. A new high-end apartment complex was being built. For around U.S. $320K you could buy a “three room plus kitchen” apartment. It wasn’t until he looked at the floor plan that he realized they count each room in Kyyiv. It wasn’t a three bedroom unit as he had thought. “What a scam!” he said out loud. Of course when he changed the search to “Kiev Real Estate” that brought up sites more like what he had expected. You could purchase a one bedroom condo (apartment) for around $30K U.S. And the higher end ones seemed to top out around $250K. Then again, he had come across a few apartments that were charging $14,000 per month in rent. He wondered how many fresh women they came with? An ex-wife wouldn’t cost you that.
How long does it take a couple to pay off a $30K note at $500 per year? Jeremy pondered. Lenny had been correct. There were high-end condos at reasonable prices and a severe poverty level. No wonder so many European women seemed to be on those mail-order bride Web sites. It was simple desperation. There must be quite a few of the mafia types living in Kyyiv or other highly crooked individuals. There could be little other justification for $3.4 million condos being within a mile of $30K condos.
Still, Lenny was correct. A young guy could go there for a couple years, be a drunken womanizing pig, and live on $20,000. If your retirement account had barely a million dollars in it, you could buy a nice condo and live better than most of your neighbors for the rest of your life. Hell, if you had only half a million, you could eke it out buying that condo that was under $40K. How the hell did they even eat spending an average of $558 per year? That wouldn’t buy most people in the U.S. Five week’s groceries, not counting the fast food stops, etc.
Jeremy logged out and locked up the office. He couldn’t believe he was even entertaining the idea. Oh well, he had a weekend of incredible sex and food far too good to be described. There was nothing quite like relaxing after a great meal and fantastic sex in a jacuzzi which happened to be near the fireplace in your room. Nothing quite like that at all. Add to that the fact his date could give a blind man whiplash and he would be walking her around the place to show her off.
Speaking of showing off, Jeremy made a mental note to put both the jewelry and receipt in his carry-on bag. Only a fool would let a $5K diamond necklace with matching earrings go through baggage claim now that they hand-inspected luggage. Jeremy had heard so many horror stories he was planning to pack two incredible suits to wear. He figured if he packed two, they might only take one. Yes, he had heard some tales of people losing expensive suits. They wouldn’t bother to pilfer a Wal-Mart suit, but a $1,200 imported Italian stood less than a fifty-fifty chance of making it through the flight unless it had an equally good looking $1,000-plus suit in the garment bag with it.
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