Madame La Plume took five minutes to gather her thoughts before keying in the secure Saudi code. She lived a varied and dynamic life, juggling her political ambitions with her business obsession but even by her own standards, this was a particularly exciting scenario. She was about to contribute towards a truly world changing event, she was offered a business opportunity that could wipe out the costs incurred in funding her political party and she could even afford herself the luxury of a flirtation with a handsome and powerful man who was half her age; whether he liked it or not.
It took less than five seconds for the connection to be activated.
“Good morning Opal, it’s Sapphire here, I need to speak with Emerald.” It was a fairly unsophisticated and probably futile set of codenames but it seemed to make the Saudis feel more comfortable.
“His Highness is will be available in five minutes and I will arrange to have him call you.”
No, Opal. I will set up video conferencing facilities in ten minutes. There are documents that I need him to review and discuss. Computer connections are more secure than phones in any case. Please have His Highness available at your console.” The connection was closed.
La Plume scoffed, scornfully at the reference to “His Highness.” She knew perfectly well that Abdullah bin Abdurrahman, or Emerald, had no greater access to the Saudi royal family than she had but his political connections and obscene wealth were sufficient for her to indulge his delusions. Most illegitimate offspring of Saudi royal descent either died or disappeared before their first birthday, but Abdullah was a rare exception. His guile, his cunning and network of connections, coupled with the photographs, videos and the D.N.A evidence harvested by his long dead mother had ensured that he was able to thrive, indeed survive in his underworld but would be looking over his shoulder for the remainder of his life, fully understanding that there were those who would dearly like to detach his head from it.
Ten minutes later, La Plume dialled up the advanced Lync connection. The second the connection was established, every sound, every pixel and every word was being relayed back to the eager eyes and ears of Alec Brunson. Both parties were blissfully aware that MI7 were observing everything.
Abdullah’s face shone out of La Plume’s monitor. He was in his mid-thirties with darker than olive skin and jet black, shoulder length hair, parted in the middle into a floppy fringe which seemed to contradict his tightly clipped moustache and beard. By any standards, he was a handsome man but with discretion said to be wiser than valour, his hairstyle and facial hair helped to disguise his likeness to his high-profile lineage. La Plume often hoped that they would eventually have the opportunity to meet in a more relaxed and convivial context.
He was first to speak. “This is a pleasant surprise, Sapphire. I thought we had agreed to deny ourselves the pleasure of each other’s company until the conclusion of our impending venture. There is nothing unpleasant for me to be concerned with is there?”
Even though both believed the channel to be absolutely secure, they had always preferred to speak in coded clichés.
“Everything is in order, Emerald. The wedding celebration is as scheduled and the bride and groom are travelling to the church with the cake. There is an unrelated matter that I wish to discuss with you, however.”
“I am intrigued, Sapphire, please go on.”
“I have been presented with a fascinating investment opportunity. The CEO and principal shareholder of a huge and highly successful hotel empire is in urgent need of funds to purchase a swathe of family shares to prevent them falling into foreign hands and creating the likelihood of a hostile takeover by American shareholders.” She saw his jaw clench slightly by the reference to Americans whom he despised almost as much as he did the English.
“And what scale of investment is your party seeking?”
“I believe that a figure of seven hundred million dollars would secure the shareholding he requires. The CEO would then commit to purchase the shares back from you over a phased period at a minimum premium of five percent in the first year, rising by a minimum of five per cent above that purchase price for every year you hold them.”
“And what if the share price goes beyond these premiums? I assume that I will be at liberty to sell freely at the market price?”
“That is so, Emerald but not until the CEO has purchased sufficient shares back to ensure that he has the controlling interest. He must always be given first option on disposals. You can also take satisfaction from the knowledge that such a transaction would be a significant blow to English and American investors who are keen to seize control of the group.”
Leslie J. Nicholls has always held an inquisitive, borderline cynical, interest in the politics, morals and motivations of governments and their politicians. As an avid observer of current affairs, national and international news he has developed an uncanny knack of predicting unfolding world events. Political writers like Gerald Seymour, Frederick Forsythe, Robert Ludlum and Sebastian Foulkes have inspired Nicholls to abandon a successful career in Sales and marketing to express this interest creatively in the publication of This Disunited Kingdom, a political thriller with a prophetic vision of post Brexit Britain.
Author Website: http://lesliejnichollsauthor.
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