“For what purpose?” Henry said. He glanced at me again. I’d never seen him look so nervous. His reaction to this little raid was interesting, to say the least. I sat back and crossed my arms over my chest and kept my mouth closed.
The woman from the SEC moved to stand next to the FBI agent. She said, “It has come to the attention of the SEC that an off-shore company called Creative Investment Partners has been buying an unusually high number of put options pertaining to Wright Enterprises and Anderson Telecommunications stock.”
“People buy puts all the time,” Henry said.
“That’s true,” she said, “But when the person behind the company acquiring all those puts is an officer of one of the companies involved in acquiring the other, that is called stock manipulation and is against the law.”
I tapped the rubber ball to my chin and asked, “And who is this mysterious person behind Creative Investment Partners?”
Agent Smith nodded at Henry. “Henry Costas.”
“Our initial investigation suggests that Mr. Costas was buying up large numbers of puts because he expected the stocks of both companies to crash after the news that the financial reports of Anderson had been altered by management consultants from Goldman & Stern.”
“What?” Stan looked like he was about to shit in his pants. “We didn’t alter any financial data.”
“Are you with Goldman & Stern?”
Stan slowly nodded.
“Our suspicion is that Mr. Costas was going to claim that you altered the data in exchange for a large contract to do due diligence on the deal,” she said, handing him her card. “We’ll need to interview everyone who worked on the project.”
Now I understood the reason Henry insisted on hiring Goldman & Stern in the first place. He would need a scapegoat when the shit hit the fan.
Poor Stan looked like he was going to have a coronary. The rest of the Goldman team sat wide-eyed with their mouths hanging open as their eyes darted between one another.
I must admit, I would have enjoyed the show if it hadn’t meant that my mentor and best friend was trying to screw me. I swiveled my chair to face him.
“Henry?” I said, the rubber ball flexing in my hand. “Why would you do such a thing?”
“You have the right to an attorney, Mr. Costas,” the FBI man said.
“And I have the right to know why he would betray me,” I said. “Why Henry?”
Henry looked down and shook his head. “I’ve been trying to get you to grow up for years, Tanner,” he said, rubbing a knuckle under his nose. “I’ve watched you get rich while the rest of us worked our asses off to build this company. You’ve made billions of dollars while the rest of us fed off your scraps.”
“You’ve made hundreds of millions of dollars, Henry,” I said. “Was it not enough?”
“I’m tired of playing nursemaid to you,” Henry said, looking away. “It’s time I got what was coming to me.”
“Well, I’m pretty sure you’re going to get that,” I said. I looked at the lady from the SEC. “Can I ask how all this came to light?”
“Our office was contacted on Monday by a Ruth Bennett,” she said, reading the name off a notepad in her hand. “She’s a money manager with Smith-Barney here in Chicago. She was alerted to potential improprieties in the Anderson books by a client of hers. A Miss… Candice Carlson. Miss Bennett contacted our office and we fast-tracked the investigation given the pending acquisition of Anderson Telecom by your company.”
“I assume that acquisition is now on hold?” I asked with a smile, already knowing the answer. Fine by me. I didn’t want to buy Anderson anyway. This was Henry’s baby all the way, and now I understood the reason why.
She said, “Yes, we have an order from a federal judge halting the acquisition. The SEC and the state attorney general’s office will be conducting a full investigation.”
“Fine by me,” I said. I set the rubber ball on the table in front of Henry. “Here, you might need that.” I held out a hand to the feds. “Officers, take him away.”
“We’ll need you to come down and speak with us as well, Mr. Wright,” the SEC woman said, handing me her card. “We have no reason to suspect that you were involved in anything inappropriate, but you’ll probably want to bring an attorney along just in case.”
“I’ll have my attorney set an appointment for Monday,” I said, slipping the card into the back pocket of my ratty jeans. “I have something extremely important to take care of first.”