Authors: Dean Murray
Copyright 2013 by Dean Murray
The Reflections Series
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Writing as Eldon Murphy
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Deutsche Bank, Cayman Office
George Town, The Cayman Islands
You don't get
to be a Senior Vice President in a bank the size of Deutsche Bank
without learning to do at least a reasonable job of concealing your
emotions, but that doesn't mean that you don't feel them. It was
obvious to me that the man sitting across the massive mahogany desk
from me was very nervous.
The simple fact
that Mr. John H. Ford had failed to introduce himself would have told
me he was feeling off balance, but there was more than that to it.
When it came to me—to my kind—there was almost always
more to it than just simple observation.
I could hear
Mr. Ford's heartbeat stuttering, could smell the stress-induced
perspiration that was hidden so well by the jacket of his
thousand-dollar suit. Someone watching us from outside of Mr. Ford's
luxuriously appointed office would have probably thought there wasn't
anything unusual going on, but this wasn't just another day at the
office for him. Days like this were the sole reason that he'd been
assigned to this branch.
branch of Deutsche Bank was a big branch—it had to be given the
sheer amount of money that flowed through it on a daily basis. As
Switzerland's banking laws had become less and less protective of the
identities of account holders, more and more of the black-market
money that had once hidden in Switzerland had shifted to other
offshore locations like the Cayman Islands.
Just having an
office in the Cayman Islands no doubt caused problems for the banks
that operated here, but the simple fact of the matter was that there
was too much money to be made for most of them to pass up a slice of
the action. Deutsche Bank probably made more money out of their
Cayman branch than they did out of the next three biggest offices
Each of the big
multinational banks that operated here tried to insulate themselves
from repercussions in slightly different ways, but it all boiled down
to the same thing. They needed a fall guy, someone to throw to the
regulators if something came back to bite them. Mr. Ford was the
sacrificial lamb in Cayman and he knew it.
offsetting perks, of course. Mr. Ford probably made three or four
times what other people at his level in the bank made, but I could
tell that he was getting to the end of his endurance. It had to be
hard to sleep knowing that he could go to jail at some point because
of transactions like the one that we were about to make.
seems to be in order, Mr. Peterson."
I was nervous
too, but the fact that I was using a fake identity that was strong
enough to fool even the head of the U.S. National Security Agency
meant that I didn't have as much on the line as Mr. Ford did. If
everything went against me then I might lose the money in the account
he was looking at, but it would take more than a dozen human police
to have any hope of capturing me, and even then, I'd probably hear
them coming from a long way off.
I leaned back
in my chair, causing the expensive black leather to creak, and
expected nothing less, Mr. Ford. I'm familiar enough with your
internal policies to know that you wouldn't have allowed me to cash
out my account before now. However, now that I've met the relevant
criteria, I'd like to proceed."
I'd paid some
very unsavory contacts a total of nearly two hundred thousand dollars
to find out exactly how long my money needed to sit in Mr. Ford's
bank before I could liquidate it, and I hadn't waited a day longer
than I had to before arriving to start the process of moving it yet
governments had a decided interest in knowing whenever anyone opened
or closed a large account, but even now there were a few countries
where the banking laws were strong on privacy and weak on regulation.
I'd moved the money I'd stolen from Kaleb—stolen from my
father—more than a dozen times since I'd left Sanctuary.
Kaleb had kept
the money in a variety of accounts, all of which I'd moved into an
offshore account that Donovan had set up for me years ago. If I'd
been up against someone with less resources, that probably would have
been enough to shield me, but Kaleb still had billions, maybe even
tens of billions in assets and he wasn't the kind of guy to confine
himself to strictly legal methods of getting what he wanted.
I'd bounced the
money around to accounts in the Middle East, Hong Kong, and Singapore
every few days before finally deciding to make the switch here in the
Cayman Islands. Some of the countries my money had passed through
were very hostile to the U.S. government, so Kaleb's contacts in the
Justice and State departments wouldn't be enough to get him access to
the records he'd need to track the money down, but I still felt like
the clock was ticking.
inside of the bank's computer systems would take time, even for
Kaleb, but he had access to some of the best hackers in the world,
and if that didn't work then he'd eventually get someone inside the
buildings. It ultimately wouldn't matter if he did it by hiring
someone to pose as a new employee, by bribing a VP somewhere, or by
old fashioned breaking and entering. It was just a matter of time
before Kaleb followed the electronic trail that my funds transfers
I needed this
money to fight the war that I'd committed to when Kaleb had tried to
sell off my sister Rachel to one of his goons. The only way to make
sure the money would be safe was to move it without using electronic
stress was getting to him even more than I'd realized. He'd just
spent the last thirty seconds staring off into space.
sorry, what was that?"
to go ahead with the closure of my account here."
sure? We would really like to keep your business, Mr. Peterson. You
have a significant balance in your account. Possibly we can arrange
to put you in a better account. I'm sure we have something with a
better yield than what you're getting right now."
I shook my
head. "I'm afraid not."
well. You indicated that you'd like to close out your account by
purchasing bearer bonds?"
actually wait for my response; it was just more conversational
filler. He knew I was probably doing something illegal, but I'd met
all of the bank's requirements so there wasn't anything he could
really do to stop me. Besides, he was about to make a ridiculous
amount of money off of me.
actually have enough bearer bonds on hand to cash out the full value
of your account…"
fine, I'd like to proceed with purchasing all of the bonds you have
on hand. I can always come back tomorrow to redeem the rest of the
I half expected
him to tell me that tomorrow was too soon, but apparently he'd pushed
me as far as he was comfortable pushing. There weren't as many bearer
bonds being issued these days precisely because they were so ideal
for money laundering, but there were still trillions of dollars'
worth out there, and hundreds of billions of it circulated between
the banks here in the Caymans.
Mr. Ford would
get ahold of the debt instruments I needed, and he'd do so by
purchasing them from at least half a dozen different banks later on
in the day so that he'd be less likely to know which bank I'd taken
the bonds to. What he didn't know couldn't be pulled out of him on a
witness stand at some later date.
good. Have you made your own security arrangements, or would you like
us to assist you there?"
my own arrangements."
absently as he typed something into the terminal positioned to one
side of his desk. "Very good. When should I tell my people to
expect the armored car?"
won't be necessary. I just need the bonds; I'll take care of
Mr. Ford's eyes
practically popped out of his head. "I know it's not my place to
tell you how to secure your wealth, but you must admit that simply
walking out the front door with…that amount of money is
I fought down a
smile at how careful he was being to avoid actually saying how much
money we were dealing with.
right, Mr. Ford, it's not your place. My people are very, very good.
As long as there's no leak on your end of things, there won't be any
momentarily grateful that the bank's policies prohibited the presence
of non-account holders in meetings like this. Jasmin, James and Jess
were incredibly dangerous, but they didn't look it and I wasn't sure
that Mr. Ford would have agreed to let me walk out the door with
nothing more than a trio of teenagers to guard that kind of money.
would have decided to see if he could arrange to
steal the money.
He wavered for
a moment, but I knew how to deal with these kinds of concerns. "Your
bank's responsibility ends the moment you hand me the debt
certificates, Mr. Ford, I'm well aware of that. I'll even sign
something to that effect if needs be, but one way or another I will
be closing out my account here over the next two days. If I have to,
I'll wire the funds to another bank, one that will follow my
instructions without all of these questions."
It was a bluff,
a small one at least. I would happily wire the money to another bank
if I had to, but my contacts had said that Mr. Ford was easier to
deal with than most of the rest of his contemporaries at the other
banks. If I had to wire the funds elsewhere I'd be forced to fly to
Hong Kong or somewhere similar, and that would take time I didn't
well, I'll have my secretary draw something up. There will, of
course, be a small fee charged by the bank for our role in obtaining
the bearer bonds."
have a quarter of a percent."
That sealed the
deal. It was only slightly more than my contacts had indicated was
the going rate for something like this, but it would amount to tens
of millions of dollars, tens of millions of dollars of which he would
get a small but significant cut. Our complicated dance was now done
and all that remained was the actual transfer.
well, if you'll please follow me to the vault, we can proceed—unless
your people need more time to complete their arrangements?"
ready to go."
Two days ago I
wouldn't have known how much security to expect, but my contacts had
filled me in on that as well. Mr. Ford couldn't get access to the
vault by himself any more than I could, so we stopped off at both the
branch manager and the assistant manager's offices and collected them
before heading to the back of the building.
I caught a
glimpse of James and the rest waiting in the lobby, but they didn't
acknowledge my presence any more than I acknowledged theirs. As we
passed through a large, metal door I felt an unfamiliar sense of
pressure that nearly made me stumble, but Mr. Ford and the others
didn't seem to notice my clumsiness.
hadn't been completely unanticipated, but it still wasn't a welcome
development. Getting the money to the Cayman First National Bank was
going to be more complicated than I'd hoped.
Bank vault here was no fewer than three stories underground, but that
wasn't a surprise to me either. My contacts had been
well-informed. We passed through four security checkpoints and were
forced to shed all of the metal in our pockets before we finally came
to our destination, or rather
A pair of very
competent security guards showed me to a tiny room that had more than
six inches of Plexiglas positioned between me and the actual vault. I
watched as Mr. Ford and the others went through a series of biometric
checks before being allowed past the final checkpoint and into the
vault. Once they were inside, I moved over to the pair of
old-fashioned binoculars that had been left in the room precisely so
that I could watch what happened next.