It was quiet in May of 1998, and so I heard Jamie sharpen her pencil quite loudly. She reported on the purchase of commercial buildings, factories, construction companies, apartments, hotels, and resorts while ticking each item off with her pencil. Jeonil Investment was buying bargain basement properties from large corporations, and the number we had purchased was beyond belief.
“While our current profit is only rent, we are certain that this country will repay the IMF loans, and the properties we’ve accumulated so far will give Ethan’s clients astronomical profits.”
She would want Korea to overcome the IMF like no one else, as she had gained the authority to shake a country in the political and financial fields at a young age. She now realized the power Daehoo had in Korea after buying the group, and it was natural she would not want to give it up.
Also, it looked like she thought that having a private relationship with me would be beneficial, as her outfits became more daring each time we met. I could not avoid seeing her thighs and bosom whenever she reported, and she “accidentally” touched my legs as she crossed her own.
Jamie pretended to demurely avoid my gaze when I looked at her, and she would be thinking it would be almost too easy to allure a young Asian man acting as a proxy. I just laughed silently.
“The group account should be quite empty. Am I wrong?”
Jamie seemed to have waited for me to say the words.
“Our competitors think that we’re giving up some items. You are right, the piggy bank is quite empty. We can only stare at some desirable items.”
“What do you want the most?”
“This country is offering us a sale at prices that will never come again. Golden opportunities are everywhere you look. How can one pick the best? However, if it is truly necessary…”
Jamie’s eyes were filled with a strange glint.
“I want to buy the Ilsung Electronics semiconductor business, Sia Motors, and Daehyeon Motors. While I want to buy the Ilsung group, Sia group and Daehyeon, those three divisions are the minimum.”
“Who are you consulting with?”
“The East Asia Finance Research Institute. They are trustworthy. I’m planning to buy a consulting company…is there a problem?”
I did not and shook my head. Jamie continued to speak.
“The consultants chose Ilsung Electronics semiconductor as having a high possibility of success and estimated that Daehyeon’s semiconductor business would fail and damage the Daehyeon group to the core.”
“You seemed to have studied hard. How’s work?”
“This country is paradise.”
Jaimie also presented a proposal that Daehoo Motors, Daehyeon Motors, and Sia Motors could be merged together.
“You’ve already contacted the three groups. What was the result?”
Jamie’s greedy eyes looked down, which told me the answer, and she seemed to have failed even after some effort. It was inevitable.
“There’s no way to get the core businesses. Ilsung and Daehyeon have twisted management share systems, and my accounting consultants all start by shaking their heads when talking about the two groups. It cannot be helped. Ethan, how interested are your clients in the Korean market?”
She was proposing to shake Ilsung and Daehyeon like we had Daehoo.
“I know what you’re thinking, but delay it for now.”
“This chance will not come again. Can’t you persuade your clients? They will regret missing this opportunity after Korea overcomes its IMF crisis.”
“They’ve already invested 25 billion dollars.”
“I need 25 more.”
She was saying that too easily.
“You know that the limits on foreign stock shareholders have been removed.”
“That’s why you’re after Daehyeon and Ilsung? Jamie, this country will not allow Daehyeon, Ilsung, and Daehoo to merge into one group, and we will be attacked from everywhere when they see us try. They’re already using public funds to bail out Daehyeon and Ilsung.”
“This is the IMF, Ethan.”
“Yes, this is the damn IMF crisis. Do I need to explain again?”
“Merging three groups will be a greater threat than the IMF for this country, not only for the government but for the chaebols. All three owned by a foreign firm will be even more serious. Don’t you think that’s too much?” (EN: A chaebol is a large industrial conglomerate that is run and controlled by an owner or family in South Korea. A chaebol often consists of many diversified affiliates, controlled by an owner whose power over the group often exceeds legal authority. )
“I’m confused. Are you speaking for your clients?”
“I mean that we have to maintain our current relationship with the government.”
While Jamie would think that our efforts crumbled Daehoo, that was wrong. I had just sped things up, and the conditions that led to Daehoo’s ruin had already been there. In Korea, groups like Daehoo could not be attacked unless they fell by themselves, since the chaebols would unify under an external threat.
“You’re saying the same thing as our directors, and if you also say it, that means I’m wrong. I’ll modify my plans.”
“The real estate purchases are as expected. That’s good.”
“I’m just disappointed that I cannot eat everything that’s on the table because I’m too full.”
“You will be able to digest them around September.”
Jamie’s face brightened.
“Are the investors planning on additional funds?”
“I would need to persuade them first.”
Jamie was saying with her face that I should have mentioned I was going to do that in the first place.
“It’s right that you feel rushed and greedy if you are certain that this country will overcome the IMF Crisis. I agree and am going to persuade my clients on that point.”
While the dollar ruled Korea for now, things would change after the IMF. The chaebols would again take charge instead of the dollar.
“While I refused before due to realistic reasons, the chaebols in this country would be the most delicious dishes.”
Jamie strongly nodded her head.
“However, let’s not hurry. This country’s financial crisis is just beginning, and they need to stew a little more. How much do we have left?”
“About a billion dollars.”
Jamie took a summary and handed it to me. She had used ten billion to buy Daehoo, and fourteen billion to buy real estate.
“Have you talked with the government about the delay in restructuring Daehoo?”
“It was done on a condition that things will not start until April. Instead, the 25 billion dollars has been…”
Jamie did not continue, as she could not find a way to put into “socially acceptable” terms how Korea had laundered 25 billion dollars for us.
“The delay is enough for the money laundering fees, and that much was necessary to make sure there will be no future issues.”
Jamie jumped and rolled her eyes. It seemed she was still unused to my bluntness. This was perfect timing, as both the ruling party and the opposition party were complicit in laundering the funds for me.
“Jaime, this country’s government is the one with the weakness, not us.”
“My clients’ funds have come from the Cayman Islands and Netherland and other countries.”
Jamie also knew that the five firms that owned Jeonil were based on those areas. It was then Jamie’s face turned dark as she began to suspect something. The smile that tried to allure me disappeared and her eyes were deeply suspicious as she looked at me.
She had been deliberately ignorant about some things. Has she finally been forced to realize what she had come into?
“You only need to worry about profit, and the rest is up to me.”
I knew that my words would make Jamie more afraid of my non-existent clients and me, but I spoke while staring at her. She smiled, but her expression was not natural. Her gaze was turned to the corner of the room, and I also followed her gaze. I saw the sword I had practiced swinging before she came.
The sword did not shine, and the lack of ornamentation and the stamped proof marks would tell her that it was a real blade. She had enjoyed looking at that before, and now she seemed to be afraid. Was she imagining that she would be beheaded if a problem came up, with a large shadow coming out of the darkness and looking down on her?
However, she would know that she had gone in too deep to step back by this time. Also, she would not want to, even if she was risking everything.
“Why? Do you want to try that?”
I spoke indifferently, and Jamie quickly returned her gaze to my face.
“No. What were we saying?”
“Let’s focus on September when there will be additional funding.”
“Also, about special purchases. While the rest has been well done, two are still in holding. As I have mentioned numerous times, they should be the top priority.”
“Right. Since we’re in negotiations, there will be good news soon.”
“Then, let’s finish here. I think I heard all I need to hear.”
She had been about to go out when she suddenly stopped at the doorknob. She turned around with a smile after a second.
“Did you say something?”
Of course not.
“It’s late, so be careful. And…”
“Nothing. Have a good night.”
I called Jonathan after Jamie left, and he answered like he had just woken up.
<Sun, the book publishers set a date.>
<It’s not that. You have the ledgers, right?>
<Yes. Is something wrong?>
<No. Where are they stored?>
<In a safe deposit box at the Morgan Bank.>
<They won’t be lost then. I sent you an email three hours ago.>
Time for Jonathan to turn on the computer and check the mailbox passed, and I heard Jonathan’s surprised voice from the phone.
<You said nothing was wrong!>
<One doesn’t know what will happen.>
<Sun, you are…You know I just got goosebumps, right? Well, we should have done this before. However, we would need to bring in attorneys specializing in inheritance to make this official. Is that all right? You’ve been prioritizing anonymity more than anything else.>
<I will be known after I die, so it doesn’t matter.>
<Right. The heirs are your parents, right?>
<I ask this again, but nothing’s wrong, right? Why are you acting like an officer about to be shipped off to war? That’s worrying.>
Edited by Userunfriendly