Secrets within secrets, no wonder one was forgotten.
|Charles Bronson, unlike his movie star namesake, was a little ferret of a man. From a fuzz of ginger hair atop his crown, to his beady black eyes, and pointy chin, he was a convincing argument for a previous life as the aforementioned ferret. Inside, he was Charlemange The Magnificent, Holy Roman Emperor, a mighty warrior, a wise king and extraordinary lover.
He held down a mediocre job, a clerk, in a middling small trading company, Brand Ltd, at the wrong end of the docks. Each day he would arrive, work through files on his computer, printing invoices, receipts and dispatch notes. A cheese and pickle sandwich for lunch, eaten on the quayside and then back to electronic delving through the files.
One day, he did not turn up for work. That same day that the Serious Crimes Squad burst into the office, arrested all three staff and loaded all the computers into a forensics van.
While Ian Brand was staying silent next to his solicitor, Joanie, the dogsbody was sobbing her innocence and Pete Starr was trying to do a deal, Charlemagne King was releasing his seat belt. A fifteen hour flight, first class, was going to be tolerable.
It had taken over two years to set up. First finding a likely company, then getting a job there. He already had live-tested the leave-no-trace transfer software when he had been Jack Hawkins. That had been his bait.
The essence of a con is to lead the mark into trusting you by, apparently, giving them money. Then offering to invest it in a bigger proposition. It worked on greed and Ian Brand had that, in spades. It had been a stroke of genius, he preened himself, to add Serious Crimes into the mix. Their bait had been the smuggling operation run by Brand Ltd. The big con had been a money laundering operation. He, anonymously, sent enough files to whet their appetites. Hook, line and sinker, as the saying went.
With enough capital in an Islands account, he was going to live the life of Riley. There was a deposit in another account, solely for identity changes. Not that he wanted that. He had gone through enough movie stars to crowd out Beverly Hills. Now he just wanted to retire and be himself.
Whoever that was.