Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Shameless Corruption and the World Cup

How is the World Cup going for you? Disappointed that England were 'out' even before the last game of the group stages? Horrified by Uruguay biting their way through to the last sixteen? Several of the European teams - Spain, Italy, Croatia - have crashed out early, suggesting that conditions do indeed favour the South and Central American teams.

I'm still here in England while Caroline has gone suspiciously quiet in Rio. The last I heard, Bertrand Cottoneau had promised her tickets for the final at the Maracana Stadium in July. But I was worried when she got involved with a shady character called Mr Nim in Singapore, and traveled with him and his entourage, first class, to Brazil. He must have some kind of hold over her. Why otherwise would she have asked me to bring a million dollars in cash with me when I fly to Brazil? This kind of money movement is beyond my competence, so I phoned Cosimo Baldissi for advice:

“Are you all right, Cosimo? Speak up, I can hardly hear you.”
“I had an accident, Roberto, and it hurts if I laugh or shout.”
“Well this is no laughing matter. I’ve had a peculiar message from Caroline. She says she needs a million dollars urgently.”
“Ah. That much?”
“Is that all you’ve got to say? You know something about it? I know she’s been speaking to you and Bertrand. He’s getting me a ticket for the final.”
“Yes, we’ll all be there. It will be like old times.”
“I hope not. I couldn’t bear a repeat of Copenhagen. Come on Cosimo; tell me what’s going on. Is Caroline in trouble?”
“If I tell you, you will be in danger. For Caroline, the danger is a fate worse than death. For you, just death.” I had to stifle a chuckle at the Italian’s amusing exaggerations.
“I don’t think they give the death penalty for illicit currency movements. I’m sure Caroline has a good reason for needing the money. I just need some advice on how to raise it and how to move it to Brazil.”
“How much has Caroline told you? Did she tell you about my accident?”
“No. She told me about meeting you and Bertrand and going to Brazil via Singapore for a financial directors’ conference. Then she had a problem with her bank account and she used mine to send a lot of money to Bertrand. It was six hundred thousand euros. So why does she need a million dollars now? Caroline’s usually tight with money.”
“She’s trying to help Bertrand. He has many problems. He’s not the same man since Francine left him for New York. And he has to deal with that FIFA man, Cleb Fludder, who promises to retire and then stays on to wreak more havoc. Bertrand says he is destroying the beautiful game, and Cleb thinks Bertrand is after his job. He’s right, of course.”
“I’ve known Caroline to be generous, but not with money. And she doesn’t care about football. It must be something else.”
“Do you know about Caroline’s gambling habit?”
“Sorry Cosimo, Caroline doesn’t gamble. She calculates. You wouldn’t believe the grief she gives me when I bet twenty pounds on the Manchester United score.”
“People change when they are exposed to new experiences. She spent a week with Prince Lippi and picked up a taste for the casino. He introduced her to some high rollers. I expect she needs the money to settle a gambling debt.”
“Impossible. If you think that, you don’t know Caroline. It must be something else. But whatever she needs it for, will you help me?”
“Of course, anything for Caroline. What assets do you have?”
“Assets? Loans, more likely. We don’t even have pensions. Everything’s tied up in the house. We put every penny we had into it and then borrowed a lot more.”
“How much is it worth?”
“Caroline says two million, but she likes to talk it up.”
“You must live in a mansion.”
“No, we live in Surrey. House prices around London are crazy.”
“And the mortgage?”
“Nearly a million.”
“There are companies which will buy a house quickly at a discount. I will email you two names that can be trusted a little bit. Sell the house, and I will help with the transfer of funds. We will need a friendly bank with an operation in Brazil. I will speak to Von Wolfswinkle.” (extract from Shameless Corruption)

For more, and for the result of the World Cup final before it even happens, click below:

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Who are these people?

The world is divided into voyeurs and exhibitionists... It takes one of each to make a good marriage.

Robert and Caroline Fanshaw are an ambitious young couple trying to make their way in a complex world.

What happens when their private affairs collide with world events and the big issues of our times? Drama, comedy and x-rated scenes.