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Книга Whiplash. Содержание - 64

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Sunday morning

Adler Dieffendorf and Werner Gerlach walked to the conference room table, nodded to Bowie, Savich, and Sherlock, and sat down. Dieffendorf said immediately, "I elected not to have our lawyers here, but I will call them if you become in any way inappropriate. Do you understand?"

Bowie nodded. "We understand."

Dieffendorf said, "Good. As you know, Werner and I have been speaking to your Department of Justice attorneys. About this." He pulled a copy of the Culovort papers out of his briefcase and fanned the pages.

Savich saw his hands were shaking slightly, but his voice remained firmly in control. He closed his eyes a moment, then his shoulders squared again. "This has come as a grave shock to me, this well-crafted plan that my very own CEO Caskie Royal implemented to shut down the supply of Culovort in our Missouri plant. Let me emphasize that this was the act of a rogue employee. Nothing like this would ever be sanctioned by Schiffer Hartwin. The company's leadership is not to blame, and so I have told your federal attorneys. I have already informed the family, and we are in discussions concerning restitution.

"Now I will tell you that I suspected something was amiss, and that is why I sent Helmut Blauvelt here to find out the truth. No, I more than suspected, I'd heard rumors that I could not discount, and so Helmut, less than a week after his appendix surgery, insisted on coming, even insisted on making private travel arrangements so no one would find out. He was a bulldog, and Caskie Royal would not have managed to fool him for very long. Even I did not expect the truth to be this damning or to precipitate such dreadful acts. Helmut Blauvelt was more than a Schiffer Hartwin employee. He was a longtime friend of mine. I simply couldn't believe it when he was so brutally murdered. Then Royal himself was murdered. Still I did not know how damning it all was until I read the actual plan Royal implemented to systematically close down production, making it look like unfortunate occurrences had led to the shutdown. I was trying to find out the truth from him when he ran away. Neither Werner nor I knew what to think. It seemed to us everything had flown out of control.

"If I accept that Royal was a rogue employee, acting on his own, why then was he murdered? I don't understand, I simply don't know anything, except that these papers, these papers are a horror for the company." He shook the Culovort papers, then dropped them on the table. "Someone knew to copy these pages off Royal's computer. What is going on here?"

Bowie said, "Mr. Dieffendorf, did you yourself request Agent Andreas Kesselring of the BND to come here to assist in the investigation of Helmut Blauvelt's murder?"

Dieffendorf frowned at him, shook his head. "No," he said slowly, forcing his brain to refocus, "but when his services were offered by the BND, I gladly accepted. I checked. Kesselring has an excellent reputation. Why do you ask?"

"Agent Kesselring was sent here, sir, just as you sent Helmut Blauvelt. He was here to assess the situation and contain it. He was never here to assist us. He was never on your side, or ours. It was he who murdered Helmut Blauvelt because Blauvelt discovered too much of the truth. He also murdered Caskie Royal because Royal was trying to escape and Kesselring knew he'd be caught, and he knew Royal would confess everything to save his own neck. He did not murder Royal on his own. He had the help of Royal's wife and her lover. Yesterday morning, he planned to murder his accomplices and Agent Sherlock. He failed."

Dieffendorf stared blankly at Bowie, his face perfectly white. He'd aged ten years since Bowie had opened his mouth. "No," he said quite clearly. "No. This cannot be true. You are saying that an agent of the BND has betrayed us? Me? The company?"

"Yes, sir, he did indeed betray you and the company. I imagine you've wondered why Agent Kesselring hasn't answered his cell phone. He cannot, you see, because he's in the hospital, being treated for gunshot wounds."

Dieffendorf frowned. "Werner, you told me Kesselring wasn't answering his cell phone. You said you were concerned."

"That's correct. Yes, I was becoming worried."

Dieffendorf said to Bowie, "You swear to me what you've told us is true?"

"Oh, it's quite true," Bowie said.

Dieffendorf said to Gerlach, "Did you have any idea what Kesselring had done?"

"Of course not. I do wonder, though, if the FBI agents here are being completely accurate in their telling of these events. Where is your proof that Kesselring did any of these things? Did Kesselring confess it all to you?"

Savich said, "He has refused to tell us who he worked for. Let me ask you, Mr. Dieffendorf, do you think Caskie Royal himself contrived somehow to sabotage the Spanish plant?"

"I don't see how he could have." Dieffendorf stopped short, sucked in his breath. "You're saying Kesselring helped him?"

"I'm saying that Royal did not act alone."

Bowie pulled a cell phone from his pocket. "We took this cell from Kesselring's pocket. It's prepaid, impossible to trace to a specific buyer, only to the store where it was purchased.

"There are many calls on it, some to a number you know very well, Mr. Dieffendorf." Bowie turned to Werner Gerlach. "I find it particularly interesting, Mr. Gerlach, that Kesselring phoned you three times last Sunday night, around the same time as the break-in at Caskie Royal's office and Helmut Blauvelt's murder. Did he call you for instructions? Did you discuss whether he should kill Blauvelt?"

Werner Gerlach sat motionless, staring straight ahead. Dieffendorf leaned down and shook his shoulder. "Werner? What did he call you about?"

Gerlach slowly stood now. "All of this is the grossest sort of speculation, Adler. I know nothing of any of it. I wish to call our lawyers now. They will put a stop to this lunacy."

Savich said, "I have accessed your phone records, Mr. Gerlach. There are also calls from your number to Kesselring. A total of six calls until yesterday morning. Then you left three messages."

Gerlach crossed his arms over his chest. He stood stiff and as tall as he could. "This means nothing at all. Agent Kesselring was here to find answers, not commit crimes. Naturally I wished to communicate with him, to find out the status of his investigation. There is nothing more to it than that."

Dieffendorf said slowly, "I have known Werner Gerlach for more than twenty years. He is loyal to me, he is loyal to Schiffer Hartwin. He would never conspire in a fraud of this nature, never."

Savich sat forward, his hands folded. "I believe eight months ago you married a young lady named Laytha Guerling, aged twenty-six?"

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