Washington, DC – Wednesday, Feb. 19, 7:30 a.m. EST
Carrying a chocolate croissant in a brown bag and a large coffee in a paper cup, Anna walked into the bureau pumped at the prospect of deciphering the story. Tanner saw her coming and waved her inside.
“Get any sleep?” Tanner asked.
“Barely,” Anna said. “But it was worth it.”
“First, I checked out the hyperlinks. Mostly, they go to World Bank project pages—publicly available stuff on the Bank’s website. Clues, probably. Then, I downloaded the contents of her phone. On the surface, it looks pretty basic—a couple of podcasts, some music, the usual standard apps, plus a few word games. Then it got weird. Most of the private stuff was wiped—contacts, text log, phone log, downloads, photo history. Nothing, except for one call—somebody called her twice after the shooting from an unlisted number. We need to look into that.”
“Alright. Is that it?”
“No. In her text to me, she had mentioned a spreadsheet, video and documents, so I kept looking. Inside of ‘playlists,’ I found them—contracts on shipping and trade, bank statements, bills of lading, Custom’s forms, as well as a thing called ‘master spreadsheet’ and a video.”
“I can have Jeff help dig into that too, if you want,” Tanner said.
“Definitely. Thanks. It’s a lot to digest.”
“Did you watch the video?”
“Yes,” she said. “It’s of Channarong.”
“Yes, Channarong. The audio is bad, but it’s him. He’s dining outdoors at a busy restaurant with palm trees and a beach in the background. He’s talking to a man—pale guy, ruddy complexion, maybe in his 60s. If you zoom in, you can see the name of the restaurant on the menu. It’s on South Beach in Miami.”
“No kidding. Maybe tech can decipher the audio. Who’s the dinner partner?”
“I wondered that too, so I went back to search for clues. In this so-called master spreadsheet—which lists details about World Bank projects in South East Asia…”
“This is a World Bank document?” Tanner interrupted.
“Not sure. It might be a draft—no letterhead, no header. It could’ve belonged to Channarong or someone else with detailed knowledge of these projects, but there’s no evidence it was ever released. My sense is it would never be released, either, because it’s too detailed. If someone prepared this for the Bank, I think it would have remained internal.”
“What’s in it?”
“Right, so in this spreadsheet there’s a lot of information. Much of it is also posted on the Bank’s website—things like project locations, inception dates and total loan amounts, nothing special. But it includes other details I couldn’t confirm or cross-reference—notes on hybrid financing, commercial banks, aid agencies, sovereign loans, even potential alternatives. There are also columns of data on currency rates, forex trades, fees, products, and possibly ID numbers.”
“Hmm,” Tanner nodded and frowned.
“Double books?” she said. “But get this. At the bottom, a little chart shows contacts and coordinates—first and last name, salutation, title, phone number and email.”
Tanner made a face.
“Right. And then I noticed the phone numbers have the same area code plus the same first three digits. Turns out they all route to the Miami offices of Theo van Torenmaas.”
“Dutch shipping magnate and commodities trader,” Tanner stated.
“Also philanthropist—with a reputation for keeping a low profile.”
“I know the one. Avoids the party scene, hates charity balls, even when he’s the big donor,” Tanner said, nodding in recognition. “Well, he could be working with the World Bank.”
“It’s possible. I called a friend of mine to find out more. She’s the assistant director of development at a charity based in the Hague.”
Tanner bugged out his eyes a little, leaned his head down and moved his chin into his neck.
“She said even though he’s seen as a recluse on the global stage, he’s known in society circles. He spends most of the summer and fall in Amsterdam—lives in a beautiful turn-of-the century villa near the Vondelpark, the city’s central park. He even has a stable there—actual horses—but he winters in Miami.”
“And?” Tanner asked.
“And I had a hunch, so I showed her the video of Channarong with the unknown guy at dinner. She took one look at it and said it’s him.”
“Is she sure?”
“Yes,” Anna said.
“Torenmaas and Channarong knew each other,” said Tanner, pressing his lips together. “And the evidence is right there on Evy’s phone.”
“Yes,” Anna said.
“I’ll have people here scrutinize the data. Meanwhile, why don’t you go to Miami and see Torenmaas?”
“I already booked a ticket.”
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