فصل 12

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فصل 12

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Chapter twelve

Stephano’s Story - Continued

The third day, Underhill was back. “We’ll start where we stopped yesterday, Mr. Stephano. Your arrival in Brazil.”

“Right. It’s a big country and has a history of being a great place to hide. We put together a file on Lanigan and had it translated into Portuguese. We had computer artists make pictures of his appearance. Then we hurried to Brazil and hired the best investigators we could find. In April 1994, we found the doctor who’d changed Lanigan’s chin and nose. We knew then that he was in Brazil.”


Stephano’s fourth meeting began early. The questioner was a new one, Oliver.

“You were talking about the doctor who changed Lanigan’s chin and nose,” Oliver said. “Continue.”

Stephano got comfortable in his chair. “For a long time we didn’t find anything. Then, late in ‘94, we were contacted by an investigation firm in Atlanta - the Pluto Group. They said they might have some information I’d want. They had a mysterious client who claimed to know something about Lanigan. Obviously, I was interested. The client, not surprisingly, wanted lots of money. This was encouraging. If their client expected a big reward, then the client knew that Lanigan still had plenty of money. In July of ‘95, the Pluto Group approached me and said their client could lead us to a place in Brazil where Lanigan had recently lived. We agreed on the sum of 50,000 dollars. After the money was wired to a bank in Panama, I was given an address of an apartment building in the small city of Itajai. We showed the manager our pictures of Patrick. He said the man’s name was Jan Horst, a German who’d rented an apartment for two months.”

“What about the Pluto Group?”

“We didn’t hear much from them for six months. Then, in January of this year, they returned. Their client needed money and was ready to tell us everything. For a few million dollars we could learn exactly where our man was. But their client wouldn’t talk until the money was paid, and I wouldn’t pay until their client talked. Eventually, another suggestion was made. For 50,000 dollars we would get the name of a place where Lanigan had lived after he left Itajai. We agreed because it would tell us whether their client had good information.”

“Where was the second town?”

“Sao Mateus, a small town with friendly people. We spent a month there showing our pictures. The apartment manager recognized him as Derrick Boone, a British man. We didn’t learn anything more, so we left Sao Mateus in early March and decided to concentrate on the smaller towns near Sao Paulo and Rio. The Pluto Group still wanted a million dollars, and my client wouldn’t pay without being certain that the information was good.”

“Did you ever learn how their client knew so much about Lanigan’s movements?”

“No. One theory was that their client was also chasing Lanigan, for an unknown reason. The second theory, and the most likely, was that their client was someone Lanigan knew and trusted. My client and I decided we couldn’t allow the opportunity to escape.”

“How did you reach an agreement?”

“In August of this year, they made another offer: recent photos of Lanigan, in exchange for another 50,000 dollars. We said yes. The money was wired, and they handed me the photos in my office.”

“Could I see them, please?”

“Sure.” Stephano pulled them from his case. The first was Lanigan in a crowded market; he wore dark glasses. The second was taken as he walked along a sidewalk; he looked no different from any Brazilian. The third was Patrick washing his Volkswagen; the dark glasses were off, and it was a clear photo of his face.

“We agreed to pay the million dollars. The money was placed in an account in Geneva. Their client gave us the name of the town, and the street address where he lived. We raced there and found him. His name was Danilo Silva. Then we watched him for a week. We had to be patient. If we made one bad move, the police would be told and would protect him. So we waited and planned. We finally captured him outside of town, on a small road with no witnesses, and took him to a house in Paraguay.”


Underhill joined Oliver after a coffee break. “We’ve seen the photos of the burns, Mr. Stephano. And we, the FBI, have been sued for the injuries caused by your men. Now tell us how you did it.”

“I wasn’t there. I knew he’d be given electric shocks. I had no idea it would cause serious burns.”

Underhill and Oliver looked at each other in disbelief and whispered. They both asked a number of questions about the capture and questioning. Finally, they asked the most important question. “During the questioning of Mr. Lanigan, what did you learn about the money?”

“Not much. He told us where the money had been, but it had been moved. The man who did the questioning believes that Mr. Lanigan didn’t know where the money was.”

“Did Mr. Lanigan mention a partner?”

“I don’t know.”

They whispered again and then paused. Stephano waited nervously. Then the door opened, and Hamilton Jaynes walked in, followed by Warren. “I’ve been listening in the next room,” Jaynes said with a smile. “And suddenly I wonder if you’re being truthful.”

Stephano was more anxious. “Of course I am.”

“Of course. Have you ever heard the name Eva Miranda? She’s a lawyer in Rio. A friend of Patrick’s.”

“No.”

“Well, that’s what bothers me, Jack. I think you know exactly who she is. You’re trying to find her.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Stephano said weakly Underhill spoke. “He’s lying.” Oliver and Warren agreed.

Jaynes picked up a sheet of paper. “This is a story from a Rio paper this morning. It tells of the kidnapping of Mr. Paulo Miranda. His daughter is Patrick’s friend, Jack. We’ve checked with the police in Rio. Nothing has been heard from the kidnappers. So where’s Mr. Miranda?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Jaynes looked at the other end of the table. “Still lying,” Underhill said, and Oliver and Warren agreed.

“We had an agreement, Jack. You’d tell us the truth. We’d drop the charges against you, and we wouldn’t arrest your clients. Now what am I supposed to do, Jack?”

Stephano looked at Underhill and Oliver. “She knows where the money is,” he said quietly.

“Do you know where she is?”

“No. She left Rio when we found Patrick. We haven’t found her.”

Jaynes looked at his men. Yes, Stephano had stopped lying. “Leave the girl alone, Jack. And release her father.”

“I’ll think about it.”

“No. You’ll do it now.”

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