The week before the unfortunate Mr. Styles reached his untimely end, Tony Cascarini walked into the Regent’s Park mansion of Carlos Olivera. The detached house had spectacular views facing onto the boating lake in Regent's Park and a private garden behind a long, tall wall topped with metal spikes.
A security guard answered the door and accompanied Tony to the top floor. He was shown into a plush office and saw Carlos sitting at a huge modern glass desk. At the side of his desk sat a large, muscular dog with a wrinkled face and a pushed-in nose. It looked like a bulldog, but larger. The appearance of the dog proved the old adage that dogs get to look like their owners, or is it the other way round? Carlos was also large and muscular, with a shaved head and hanging jowls. The dog growled at Tony before Carlos told it to shut-up.
Tony had been to Carlos’s house once before, when Carlos had hired him to be his personal accountant. Tony still worked at Oliver Gold’s but Carlos had paid for a special office to be set up for Tony. The room had been completely stripped, soundproofing installed and the office was equipped with a brand new independent computer network. Now, seven months later, Tony was also handling the accounts of half a dozen of Carlos’s associates.

On his previous visit, Tony had been too nervous to pay any attention to the room in which he now stood. Now, more relaxed, he looked around at the artwork on the walls. There were at least eight, what looked like, Post-Impressionist paintings. Tony guessed they were prints, but he wouldn’t have been surprised if some were originals.

The luxury of the room was marred by the thick clouds of cigar smoke and the stink of the dog, at least he hoped it was the dog and not Carlos. 

 Carlos dispensed with pleasantries. “What’s all this about Bank of England gold?" Carlos barked before Tony could sit down. "Why couldn’t you have told me about it on the phone. I don’t have time to waste!”
Tony was Carlos’s personal accountant and was used to his gruff manner, so it didn’t bother him.
“You won’t think your time is being wasted when you hear about it. It’s too risky to talk about on the phone. I’m even a bit uneasy about talking about it here.”
“Don’t be stupid! There’s no way my office is bugged. Get on with it!”
“Okay. Last week a solicitor asked me to meet him in the Tate Modern — of all places. He wanted to know if I could help him with the sale of a large amount of precious metal. He was very careful about revealing details at first, and he kind of let on that there was risk as the deal was not exactly legal.”
“How do you know this guy? Do you trust him?” asked Carlos. “He’s probably a con artist.”
“His name is Nick Styles. I don’t know him very well, except that from the few conversations we’ve had, I thought that he was the kind of solicitor that would be prepared to bend the rules for his own good — and obviously he thought the same thing about me. Of course the deal has “scam” written all over it, but the more he went on, the more plausible it seemed.”
“Alright, get on with it. What’s the deal?”
“Apparently, for the past couple of years, Styles has been studying the UK's Exchange Control rules in great detail. They are very, very complicated. He found loopholes. He found out that it’s quite easy to acquire millions of pounds by following a few fairly simple procedures and filling in some forms. The difficult part is that the forms need stamps of authorization and the signature of the Governor of the Bank of England.”
“Well, that’s it then, you can’t forge the Governor’s signature. Tell me about these rules — and in language I can understand, not in legal gobbledygook.”
“He’s got a plan for getting the signature. I’ll tell you about that in a minute. The law is quite simple really. If you use pounds sterling to buy foreign shares, you pay a premium, or penalty if you like, for sending sterling out of the country to buy shares, but when you sell them, you get the premium back. You get it back on the amount of sterling that comes back into the country as opposed to what went out,” Tony explained. “It needs a solicitor and an accountant to certify that, for example, twenty-million sterling came back into your account from abroad and a rubber stamp from the Bank of England to confirm that the transaction has been checked and the applicant receives the forty per cent premium refund, and that’s eight-million pounds.”
“I’m not sure I understand, but you and Styles will be the solicitor and accountant who certify the papers, right? So what about the Governor’s signature?” asked Carlos.
“The Governor of the Bank of England is Sir Jonathan Broadbent. Styles has been working on creating a relationship with Sir Jonathan for the past year. They are both members of the same Masonic lodge. Styles says there’s no problem in getting the Governor to sign.”
“Where does the gold come into it, Tony?”
Tony picked up on the fact that Carlos called him by his first name, which meant his attitude was softening. He was getting interested. Tony continued with his explanation.
“Styles discovered that there’s an archaic clause in the regulations that allow for large sums to be paid out of the Bank’s gold reserves. So rather than have the complication of a cheque or bank transfer, the gold option is perfect, but he needs your help to fence the gold.”
“If I’ve understood what you’re saying, overseas shares have to be bought with pounds. Where’s the twenty-million going come from to do that? Plus the premium penalty has to be paid — more money. Where’s that coming from? Not from me, that’s for sure.”
“No, we do the deal for $20,000 and with some creative work on the forms we make it into $20-million pounds. No problems with the inside connections Styles has at the Bank. Styles has already bought and sold $20,000 worth of shares, and has all the paperwork. The refund of the premium on the altered forms will amount to eight-million pounds. I’ve examined the forms, and it can be done. But it has to be done quickly.”
“Okay, Tony, sounds interesting — you’ve never let me down before. As I’ve told you many times, you are the only money man I trust. I’d trust you with my life. No, that’s not true, but I’d trust you with my dog’s life — and I love Winston." He leaned over and patted the dog on the head. "Anyway there’s always a down side, What are the risks?”
“One thing Styles didn’t tell me is that an audit takes place each quarter, so the whole thing will be discovered in couple of months. He probably planned to disappear leaving me in the shit. He offered me 25% of what we get from the sale of the gold.”
“What’s your plan then, and where do I fit in?” asked Carlos.
“Here’s Styles’s plan. On Thursday, Styles and I sign the forms approving the repayment of the premium. Then we take them to Sir Jonathan for rubber stamping and his signature. On Tuesday morning, Styles and I go to the Bank of England to collect the gold. He suggested that I meet him at the Bank with a van to transport the gold to the fence that I told him that I’ve set up. We split the cash 25-75 resulting from your sale of the gold and we never see each other again.”
“And what’s your plan?” asked Carlos with a smirk on his face.
“We sign the papers and meet Sir Jonathan, just as he planned, but on Friday morning, Mr. Styles has an unfortunate accident. Luckily, I get hold of his ID and papers, and go to the Bank of England to collect the gold. You meet me at the Bank, we go to the fence who has the cash ready and we split it 50-50.”
“Interesting, and I suppose that I am the one to see that Mr. Styles has an accident, and see that you get his ID and the papers. You do understand that you will have to get out of the country before the audit?”
“Yes, but with more than four million pounds in my pocket, that shouldn’t be too difficult.”
“Wait,” said Carlos. “I didn’t agree to 50-50. What I have in mind is 60-40. So, after deductions for commissions and expenses, you get two million to disappear with.”
“I can live with two and a half million,” said Tony.
“Okay, let’s split the difference — two and a quarter million,” said Carlos. 
Tony nodded in agreement.
“You’ll be receiving a job application for Mr. Styles in the next couple of days,“ said Carlos.
“…and there will be another huge job to be filled soon. It’s very important — top priority! Look for your instructions tonight, usual way.”
Tony smiled, nodded knowingly, and walked out of the room with a brief wave in Carlos’s direction.
Carlos nervously tapped his finger on his desk and thought, “we’ll need to think about the Governor too. No loose ends.” 

3 thoughts on “Chapter 13”

  1. Sunday, 10 April 2022 12:27

    Hey Francis,

    Sorry to have taken so long to get back with comments but I had to read all the earlier chapters to refresh my memory of the plot.  The problem (for me) is that it's been about three months since the first segment and I had just lost track.  Just so you know, it only took me two months to read Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century.

    Chapter 13 puts the pieces woven through the other chapters very well, and I'm getting a better idea of the larger picture (so far, that is).




    A couple of style issues:

    Perhaps ...The week before....reached his untimely end

    "His detached house"

    Regent's Park, not Regents Park

    Perhaps a bit of a description of the security guard? - enrich the text?

    "Post-Impressionist"      both capital letters, but with a hyphen in between

     "...premium, or penalty if you like, "       different location of comma

    Carlos barked "what's this......needs a capital W

    I'll stop here just to get it out before I screw up, and then continue so I don't lose it.


  2. Sunday, 10 April 2022 12:49

    "Styles has been studying the UK Exchange Control rules"...just add UK -there are loads of other EC rules of other countries.

    I like the explanatory section on how the Exchange Control rules apply to overseas share transactions, and the way Styles has worked it to get around the rules.  It also works its way to explain why Joe, er...I mean Tony, murdered Styles, and how Broadbent gets murdered, presumably on the instructions of Carlos, and unbeknownst to Tony(?).

    I have to say that the alteration of the invoice or whatever from 20,000 to 20,000,000 sounds a bit simplistic, surely there would be Bank of England mechanisms to prevent just that sort of forgery?  Perhaps a bit more detail will be forthcoming in a later chapter when the skullduggery actually takes place?

    I didn't get the bit about the job application for Styles.

    Anyway, looking good at the moment, all the bits coming together nicely.

    Again, sorry for the delay.


  3. Sunday, 24 April 2022 10:37

    Thanks for the comments Jeff. Most have now been addressed. You'll find out about the "job application" in the next chapter. F