Nothing I Can Do About It Now
Chapter 6

Copyright© 2016 by Denham Forrest

Later that afternoon, as Jean and I made our way back to the office after my somewhat upsetting confrontation with Katie, I figured that it was about time I got in touch with Dog (Donald) Greengrass.

Dog had been a friend of mine since our schooldays and was/is supposedly an accountant and financial advisor by profession. To be honest, Dog is a man whose working life revolves around the finite difference between tax avoidance, and tax evasion. And okay yeah, some of his tricks could well be a little dubious in the eyes of the authorities, obviously not exactly illegal, but somewhat frowned upon by the folks charged with collecting HMG’s taxes within the UK.

He was however the best -- well at the time, the only -- man I knew in the game and he had acted as my personal accountant, tax, and investment advisor for many years.

I called Dog and roughly gave him the low-down on the previous few days’ events. Dog - after echoing Jean and Greg, in insisting that Katie would never ... oh shit, lets not bother with all that again ... anyway, he suggested dinner that evening, on him. I believe basically because he wanted the dirt on Cartwright.

From the questions he asked it was pretty obvious that Dog had some idea who William Cartwright was. Then again it is/was Dog’s business to know of, if not personally, all kinds of people in the financial world.

Mind you, I was well aware that Dog would get the cost of that dinner back from me in the following weeks, with interest. But I also knew that I could safely leave it to Dog to split Katie and my worth fairly. Dog of course, knew where all of our money was stashed away and invested. Even some moneys that I would not wish fall into the area of what you might describe as public negotiations, if you understand me.

“I can’t believe it man, not you and Katie. Come on mate, are you sure she wasn’t just pulling your chain?” Dog said, when I’d explained what was on the cards and why.

I really didn’t want to get into the, “what Katie did or didn’t do” discussion with Dog, so I kind-a headed him off at the pass.

“Look Dog, when I needed a little support and trust from wife, Katie was out living it up with super-slut.”

The mention of Christine did the trick.

“Jesus mate, I never could understand why you let your missus reconcile with Chrissie after what she did to you!” Dog said, his whole facial expression changing to one of disgust.

“Tell me Dog, what would Lena say it you tried to tell her who she could be friends with?”

Dog’s facial expression changed yet again, he sort-of winced, probably as he pictured himself trying to lay down the law to his lovely wife, the very physical Lena.

It had always been a bit of a puzzle to all of us, how those two had ever got together. At school Dog had been a bit of a geek, a paperwork man. Indeed that was how he’d got his nickname at school; when the rest of us were out living it up, Donald Greengrass was doggedly wading through his own - and probably nearly all the rest of the guys’ - homework.

Lena on the other hand, was forever to be found on the running track or in the gym. She never could have been described as a geek by anyone; actually she was one fit bird, who also got herself a reputation for ... er, well, the odd bloke who took her out on a date, soon learnt to keep his hands to himself. It was funny just how many doors those blokes claimed to have walked into! Do I need to say anymore?

By the time we left school Lena was proficient in several of the martial arts and an accomplished marathon runner. The first anyone had heard of her relationship with Dog had been when the wedding invites arrived. Some folks had questioned whether Dog had found himself a wife or a bodyguard. By that time Dog had been using his financial brain very successfully and had accumulated a considerable amount of wealth for a young man.

“Christ, it ain’t what Lena would say, it’s what she’d do mate! You know she’s a black belt now don’t you?” Dog replied with a grin.

I didn’t ask in what of her many specialities Lena had gained a black belt by that time. It didn’t mater. I just knew that Dog - or anyone - would have to be nuts to get themselves into a physical confrontation with the woman.

“Yeah yeah, I’ve seen all of Lena’s trophies and certificates Dog.” I was trying to bring the conversation back to the subject I needed it on. “No, I don’t own Katie no more than you own Lena, and I wouldn’t try to give her orders about who she could and couldn’t mix with either. But that don’t mean to say that I have to stand there and take the kind of shit Katie laid on me on Saturday evening.”

“So where do I fit into this ... equation? I assume there was a purpose in you calling today.” Dog asked.

“Yeah mate. I want someone to take charge of dividing our financial assets. Someone I can trust to keep it fair, but then again not ask too many questions, if you know what I mean? Look I’m planning on suing this Cartwright bugger and I need everything divided and sorted out toot sweet!”

“Ah, I get you. You’re looking for a quick division of assets before the big bucks come rolling in. Yeah, I don’t blame you, I did some research on this William Cartwright; he’s bleeding loaded. Weird sort, got his finger in all sorts of different pies at the same time. It’s rumoured that he’s worth a good few bob; dollars of course. But he ain’t ostentatious with it like some of the Yanks. Likes to keep a pretty low profile, but he certainly knows how to rake it in.”

“Sounds like someone else I know!” I commented.

Dog grinned. “Me, I’m just trying to scrape together enough for a decent retirement!” He replied with a wink.

“Dog, with all your cash, you could buy yourself a Caribbean Island to retire to already.”

Dog didn’t comment on that suggestion, instead he kind-a smiled to himself, and then asked. “Who’s doing your legal stuff?” and then his eyebrows nearly vanished into his hairline when I mentioned Jennifer Rose.

“Jesus, you fell on your feet there mate! How the hell did you find her?” Dog commented his eyes almost as big as saucers.

“You know of her?” I enquired.

“By reputation mate - shit she’s the bee’s knees; a real bitch when it comes to divorces. She comes at things from the most weird and unexpected angles. Shit of course! Jennifer Rose suggested the legal separation up front, didn’t she?”

I nodded slightly in reply.

“Yeah, you’ve got yourself a good’n there mate. Now I got most of your stuff on file, we’ll leave the ... iffy stuff out of the equation for the time being. It would take a good forensic accountant to find any of it anyway. Now you said you were off on your travels again didn’t you?

“Yeah, next weekend, for another week or so!” I replied.

“Well you get Jenny Rose to draw up power of attorney over all your assets – at least the ones we want everyone to know about. A week can be a long time in this game, so we might need to move some cash around a bit smartish. I’ll meet with you and Mrs. Rose and you can instruct her to follow my instructions, if you understand me.”

After that Dog reeled off lists of what he had planned. Not that I took much notice - I couldn’t keep up with him - other than when he told me he was going to open several new bank accounts - in various countries around the world - on my behalf. Well put it this way; I got the idea Dog was going to set up a collection of holding companies.

“Is that necessary? Besides the ... er, iffy stuff?” I asked.

“Owen I’m thinking of the future. If Jenny Rose goes for Cartwright like I suspect she will, then you’re going to take the bugger for bloody a good screw. And then ... well you really don’t need the taxman taking a big bite out of the cake. We’ll invest and lose some of it abroad, and then HMG will only get their hands on the interest that comes back into the UK.”

“Is that legal?” I innocently asked.

Dog gave me a look that informed me that I really shouldn’t have asked that question. But he answered, “Tax avoidance is perfectly legal Owen. It’s tax evasion that you go to jail for!” with a very serious expression on his face. “Some countries are quite happy to charge very low income tax and capital gains tax’s etcetera, providing you keep your assets in their domain. We’ve been through all this before.”

“Now I very much suspect that Cartwright is going to settle out of court, because he can’t really afford to have word go around that Kate’s brother played him for a complete fool. And then he compounded the issue, now can he? Shit he’s supposed to be the bee’s knees himself. Na he’ll settle out of court and if we can swing it ... well it’ll be an undisclosed sum and we’ll make sure the better part of it goes straight to offshore holding companies, and then quietly vanishes.”

“But I don’t have any holding companies!” I said. What assets that I had outside the UK were buried away in companies the Dog controlled.

Dog looked back at me over his spectacles and raised his eyebrows again. I immediately understood that I might not have had any foreign registered holding companies at that particular moment, but I would have very shortly.

Before we parted that evening Dog and I made plans for the pair of us to meet with Jenny Rose on the following Monday, Jennifer’s schedule allowing, of course!

The next morning (Friday) I moved to another and much more up-market Hotel. I knew that I wouldn’t be in residence for very long and I needed somewhere that I could trust to store most of my gear safely, whilst I was away on my next trip. I didn’t really have the time available to look for a short-term lease flat or anything. And besides, I fancied a little luxury for a few days before I went. It’s nice to have someone to launder and press your gear, even if it was only for a few days. I had it figured; I’d hunt out a residential hotel or something for a few months when I returned.

I of course filed Jean in on my discussions with Dog -- chapter, if not verse -- the previous evening and she arranged an appointment for Dog and me with Jenny on the Monday. Kate had to all intent and purposes, gone quiet. Well, to my knowledge she didn’t bug Jean or me at all during the day, which I suppose was what I expected after our short discussion the previous lunchtime.

What I really wasn’t expecting was the reception I received when I returned to the hotel after work on that evening. The girl on the desk gave me a sort of fearful welcome that should -- I suppose -- have told me that something was in the wind. Remember I’m talking with hindsight here it really wasn’t that obvious at the time.

Well, the woman smiled at me all right, and even said “Good evening sir!” But the expression on her face made me think, that I’d suddenly sprouted horns and developed cloven hooves, or something. Regretfully - besides thinking that the girl had gone completely gaga or something - I didn’t attach any significance to the receptionist’s reaction.

It was only when I entered my hotel room -- to find my gear all turned out of my suitcases -- that I realised that something wasn’t exactly kosher. Then -- while I was still taking in the scene of devastation two rather large guys appeared out of the en suite, at the same instant as another two appeared behind me as if from nowhere. The second two pushed me right into the room and wrestled me to the floor.

Then with no real explanation of what was going on, I was handcuffed and promptly bundled out of the hotel and into a waiting police van. Every time I tried to ask, “What the f•©k was going on?” I was informed that, “I find out in due course, when we arrived at the Police station!”

“Owen Thomas you are being held for questioning at the request of the US government!” the booking sergeant informed me curtly, and then -- apparently -- ignored anything I said to him. He didn’t react to another word I said, anyway.

Then things got interesting -- well interesting to some I suppose, I was a little too ... excited to find anything funny at the time -- I was informed, yet again, and very clearly that I was being held for questioning at the request of a foreign power -- words to that effect anyway -- and, that I was not actually being arrested by the British authorities, just detained.

The fact that I was being held for question and had not actually been arrested apparently had the consequence that I could not demand my telephone call. Well, I think that was how the police officers were interpreting the law anyway. I weren’t much up on the legal niceties of detention by the British police back then. Mind you I still aren’t now! And besides, I think that possibly a lot of the emergency antiterrorist legislation left over from “The Troubles” was still in force at that time.

What’s more, it soon became apparent that the Special Branch guys -- or whomever they were, the guys had so gently picked me up at the hotel and taken me in -- were not in any hurry to speak to me themselves either. Later I kind-a worked it out that they were waiting for some Yank guy to show up and they stayed out of (my) sight as much as they could.

To make things worse, the local coppers seemed to have no real idea what the hell was going on. Anyway they appeared happy to feed me and supply copious cups of tea and coffee, and one of them even came in for a chat -- and a quiet smoke -- a couple of times during the following day and night.

I of course, took every opportunity I could to enlighten him -- and every other police officer I encountered -- as to the events of the preceding few days. Although they all told me that there was nothing they could do and told me that they shouldn’t really be talking to me ... well, I’m sure that it must have been that one guy who contacted Jenny Rose on my behalf, eventually.

I was in that cell for over forty-eight hours, before the door opened and I saw Jenny Rose standing there, grinning at me, behind a police officer.

Jenny informed me that two very sheepish looking Special Branch officers had just made a hasty retreat from the Police Station, accompanied by an equally embarrassed looking guy, who spoke with an American accent.

I was to get used to those American blokes making hasty retreats in the following few weeks. But I’ll come to that later.

Hey, I suppose its only fair to point out that some of them did hang around to apologise, and they usually got their ears chewed off -- in my best colloquial -- for their trouble. Maybe that’s why some of them did a runner when they saw me; word must have got around.

Whatever, it must be as obvious to you - as it was to Jenny and me at the time - what had happened and why. The problem was I didn’t for one moment suspect that it would happen again and again. I kind-of figured that much chewing of Cartwright’s legal peoples ears-off would solve the problem quite quickly.

Look, I’d better explain that maybe greed came into the equation when Jenny and I discussed what action we should take over this new debacle.

Dog had told me that William Cartwright would not like word to get around that he’d made such a fool of himself, and he’d probably be less likely to quibble over how much compensation he forked out if everything remained strictly in the family, so to speak.

I could have hit the newspapers with the disclosure that a British citizen been held incognito and in error for two days at the request of the US authorities. But that probably would have eventually outed Bill Cartwright, and most likely Katie and my problems would have been splashed all over the front pages of the less scrupulous Sunday newspapers as well.

Back in those days the British “gutter press” could get away with crucifying almost anyone and there wasn’t really very much you could do about it. The British Court system is horrendously expensive; until the introduction of pro-bono cases and the European Union human rights act, only the very rich could afford to take the British press on.

In consequence Jenny and I thought that the threat of disclosure to the press would serve me better, rather than kicking up a very public stink. With hindsight, maybe that was a mistake, but there is sod-all that I can do about it now.

Whatever, when Jenny dropped me back at my hotel, my room was as immaculate as it had been on the Friday morning before I’d left it to go to work. The only thing that pointed to anything out of the ordinary having gone on was the flowers and free fruit that had suddenly appeared. Plus the fact that my laptop announced, “Case has been compromised!” when I switched it on later during the day. I was surprised the police hadn’t switched that warning off; there was no other sign that they’d been through my hard drive.

Jean was apoplectic about what had happened over the weekend. Oh the police had actually visited her after she’d called the hotel wanting to speak to me. Thinking about it, I suppose it might have been Jean calling Jenny in panic, after the police had spoken to her, that set the chain in motion that lead to my release.

Anyway after I’d told Jean the tale, I had to repeat it to Bernie, and then even Katie when she called. I suspect that Jean told Kate what had happened. Both Jean and Kate were insisting that I put in a formal complaint.

Later Bernie -- after talking to Jenny -- did complain to the local police commissioner who apparently Bernie played golf with every Sunday, but we kept it low key and off the record.

Dog shocked me when we got to Jenny’s office that afternoon. I told you he was shit-hot, but I think even Jenny was surprised by everything he’d put into motion and achieved over the weekend.

He’d even met with Katie and her solicitor that morning and had her signature on the relevant papers already. I suppose it helped that Dog and Lena were Kate’s friends as well as mine, and in the division of assets, he’d played it strictly by the book. Although he’d suggested to me on the Friday that it would be too much hassle, he’d even come up with what looked to me, like a fair division what I usually term, our iffy assets. Investments that were out of the country and officially didn’t pay any dividends.

I was to learn from Dog later that, the more he’d learnt about Bill Cartwright, the more he’d figured I could take the bugger for.

This might all sound a little mercenary to some readers, but it’s really down to what you think your life -- or rather your happy marriage -- is worth!

Looking back now, just a couple of weeks before I’d been happily married to a woman I’d have trusted with my life. By that time I had lost all faith it Katie ... well, she had she’d stepped out on me in a fit of anger. Although, I appeared to be singularly alone in that belief; everyone else seemed to accept Katie’s claims that she had been winding-me-up.

However, at least Jenny appeared to agree with me that even if she had just been winding me up, Katie had well and truly overstepped the mark as far as what is acceptable behaviour for a wife.

I have to say that looking back at what Dog did with our finances, I’m pretty sure the separation of our iffy - or foreign - investments was done for a reason. Originally the idea had been for Dog to add them into my half of the assets. By splitting them, I do believe Dog planned that he would be able to keep in touch with both of us, because he controlled the holding company. And I very much suspect he thought that he and Lena could maybe act as a peacemaker at a later date. I’m only surmising here, but it’s the only explanation I can come up with now for Dog’s unexpected – on my part – change of plan.

Dog was a good mate, but I had no intention of retreating from my chosen path no matter what he and Lena had planned. So I made up my mind to circumvent them as soon as I could.

Having got the division of family assets out of the way at remarkable speed, Dog turned the subject of the meeting to Cartwright and my claim for compensation. I’m not too convinced that Jenny was completely happy with Dog’s suggestions -- should Cartwright agree to settle out of court -- but she did concede that they were on the face it apparently legal, if not exactly moral.

It went something like this. Cartwright would not pay any compensation to me personally. He would pay it to a holding company registered in some far-off tax haven.

That holding company was owned by another holding company based in a different tax haven which itself was owned by yet another and so on. The point was that, I - through intermediaries - owned all of these companies but stayed very much at arms length from most of them. What profits or dividends that were made from investments by those companies, would mostly be used to invest elsewhere.

I would be able to arrange it so that I was paid for as much consultation work as and when I needed, without exposing the bulk of my – hopefully – newfound wealth to the UK taxman. Apparently the different holding companies were all about frustrating any attempt by taxmen – or anyone else for that matter – from discovering who did own all the different companies’ assets or where any money paid out by them actually went.

There is more of this chapter...
The source of this story is Finestories

To read the complete story you need to be logged in:
Log In or
Register for a Free account (Why register?)

Get No-Registration Temporary Access*

* Allows you 3 stories to read in 24 hours.