“Fake friends are like shadows. They follow you in the sun. But leave you in the dark.”
– Hachiman Hikigaya (Oregairu)
“About two days ago, someone send me a tip me that Ethan International Shipping Company had recently gotten a large amount of money from an unknown source. The amount was more than fifty million dollars, but there were no relevant records found in the public accounts.”
After exposing the true identity of the real man behind the scenes, Vicki began to spread the word about the whole situation.
“The person who sent the informant claimed that the fifty million dollars was black money, and the real source was the head of a Gotham crime organization. For unknown reasons, the organization wanted to launder the money as soon as possible.”
“Everyone in Gotham knows there’s only one place to go to launder dirty money here, and that’s the Iceberg Lounge.”
“As we all know, Penguin never refuses any business that comes to him, so he planned to launder the black money at this auction by auctioning a low-cost fake diamond at a high price, and he decided to use the Ethan International Shipping Company to accomplish this task.”
“Because this company, which appears to have clear accounts on the surface, is actually nothing more than a tool under the company of Penguin!”
At this time, Vicki then turned to the handcuffed William Ethan.
“The CEO of Ethan International Shipping Company, William Ethan, is just a puppet under Penguin, and he specializes in criminal activities like money laundering for him!”
“‘Pink Fantasy’ was apparently brought by William to be auctioned, but in fact, he is only an agent in charge of auctioning diamonds, not the owner of ‘Pink Fantasy’!”
“Once ‘Pink Fantasy’ is auctioned at a sky-high price of close to fifty million dollars, Penguin’s client will receive the laundered money.”
Next, Vicki shifted her gaze to Lark.
“In order to ensure that ‘Pink Fantasy’ can get the ideal bid, Penguin also asked one of his henchmen, the manager of the Iceberg Casino, Lark, to participate in the auction as a bidder.”
In this way, everyone’s unit of work is very clear.
The client wanted Penguin’s help to launder money, so they sent fifty million dollars of illegal assets to Penguin’s puppet, William.
Then William would then auction the fake diamond on behalf of the client, while Lark would ensure the fake diamond was successfully bid at a high price.
In this way, the original fifty million dollars in illegal assets of the client will become legal profits from the auction.
Joey’s role in it was to ensure that the fake diamond was successfully brought to the auction.
If any unlucky rich man just fell in love with this ‘Pink Fantasy’ and planned to bid higher than Lark.
Then Lark would naturally not bid with him and let the lucky one bid for the diamond, and Penguin got 50 million for nothing.
As for how the fifty million dollars sent to Ethan International Shipping Company would be laundered, this is too simple for Penguin’s power.
He had countless ways to make the money appear legitimate.
In the whole process, Penguin did not appear in any links, but at the same time, he was connected everywhere.
“It turned out the pink diamond was actually used as a tool for money laundering. Seeing all those fake gemstones in Joey’s office, it’s no wonder how massive this illegal operation truly is…”
After listening to Vicki’s story, every bidder present suddenly realized and couldn’t help but gasp, feeling shocked.
“That pink diamond is so good that I really thought about buying it before. If I really spend more than fifty million dollars to buy a fake diamond, I dare not think about it, I dare not even think about it!”
At this moment, a cold snort sounded from the side. William had a resentful expression as he glared fiercely at Vicki.
“Vicki Vale! Your words sound reasonable, but do you have any evidence? I swear to God that Ethan International Shipping Company never received any illegal payments. Our company’s accounts have always been open and visible to everyone, and investigations are always welcome!”
“How dare you accuse me of being Penguin’s money laundering puppet? I have no connection with him whatsoever. Your words are hurtful and insulting to my name!”
“And what gives you the right to say that ‘Pink Fantasy’ is fake just because a hotel manager collected a bag of pretty glass stones? The current situation is that Phantom Thief stole ‘Pink Fantasy,’ and I lost the world’s largest pink diamond. Obviously, I’m the victim here. Why am I the one being handcuffed and charged by the police? GCPD, is taxpayers’ money given to just the wrong innocent people?”
“Vicki Vale and Jim Gordon, get ready to receive my lawyer’s letter!”
William was clearly trained and experienced, and insisted that Vicki was accusing him and that it was impossible to convict him without solid evidence.
Such a tough attitude caused everyone in the audience to murmur again, what William said was correct, and Vicki did not come up with actual and convincing evidence.
Ethan International Shipping Company has never had any bad news.
Why did it suddenly become connected to the Penguin?
Maybe William was really being falsely accused…
“You’ve got some brains, you fat slob. You really stopped that bitch from talking.”
Lark whispered to William with a sneer on his face.
“Shut up for now,”
William replied in a low voice.
“Do you think I have no evidence? William, look what this is!”
However, Vicki was not backing down.
She put down the bag of fake gemstones and pulled out a black object from her pocket, and held it up high.
It was a long and thin box, which was the tape recorder thrown to her by Phantom Thief earlier.
William couldn’t see the big screen, and he was too far from Vicki to see clearly what it was.
But it didn’t matter if he couldn’t see because he could hear clearly.
“Today’s auction has been completely ruined, and Penguin’s deal is almost impossible to proceed smoothly… It’s Ignatius. Penguin sent him to negotiate this business with me…”
A recording was played, and it was Joey who confessed that he had a deal with Penguin and was forced.
“How dare you betray us!”
William and Lark turned their heads in an instant and looked at Joey at the same time, with fierce eyes and angry faces, especially Lark, who looked like he wanted to kill Joey.
Joey, who seemed to have lost his soul for a long time, hadn’t said a word since he was dragged in by Robin.
His face was expressionless, his eyes were empty, and he was unaware of the glare of William and Lark.
At that moment, another recording played, this time of a woman’s voice.
“It’s been a long time before that fake stone comes out… Don’t forget, I’ve been working under the boss for much longer than you… As long as I don’t want to, no one can hear my voice.”
Lark’s face froze when he heard the voice.
William looked at Joey, then at Lark, and fell into silence.