Rhapsody of Death

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Chapter 22

Carrying the heavy folders that he had gotten from Mrs. Liu along with his briefcase, in the stifling heat, took its toll on Lin Huai-Yuan (Leen Hwhy-Youon). He walked in the door feeling totally spent. He threw the folders on the coffee table and sank down in his deep leather chair with his feet propped up on the collection of papers and magazines littering the table.

He glanced over at the Economic News evening edition from the night before recalling the dread that had gripped him when he first read the head lines and the hectic events culminating in his acquisition of the 2007 folders from Yin Mo-Qian’s house.

Another Watergate?

Foul play suspected in the death of CEO of Yin-Yang Electronic

The evening paper couldn’t have been on the news stands more than 5 minutes when he received a call from an angry, panicked Congressman Zhang.

“Have you seen this evening’s edition of Economic News? That totally bullshit story they wrote implicating me in some sort of scandalous abuse of government power?”

“What newspaper? What story?”

“Just go to the closest convenience store and grab a copy. You can’t miss it! It’s about the pumping station project hardware contract awarded to Mo-Qian’s company 2 years ago. With the government crack down on corruption, the media will print any unsubstantiated crap just to get an increase in readership. The Secretary of Economy, Lin Yun-Sheng (Leen Yoon-Shung), has already called me. So fucking unlucky for me with the elections coming up. They even implied that someone was murdered because of the project.”

Huai-Yuan listened as the rattled Zhang ranted on. He knew that once there was any hint of government impropriety in the news, every reporter would swarm to the story like sharks to bloody water, trying to be the first to break the “big” story. Exposés of this type, regardless of their veracity, almost always ballooned into a big political witch hunt, creating a very precarious climate for any government office or official mentioned. The only plausible course of action would be to assess the extent of the threat and find a solution to mitigate it.

“OK, Congressman Yen, give me a little time to carefully review the article and I’ll call you later.”

“Well, read it ASAP and call me immediately when you finish!”

Huai-Yuan hurried to the nearest news stand, grabbed a copy, and rushed home to read it.

According to reliable sources, the contract to upgrade the computer equipment in the State-owned WRA pumping station facility was awarded to Yin-Yang Electronic, the highest bidder. Collusion between government officials and the Yin-Yang conglomerate is all but a proven certainty.

It is reported that in recent years, Yin-Yang Electronic had contributed large sums to the campaign fund of Congressman Yen Shao-Zhang and as a result, established a close working relationship with him and other officials in the party.

As early as 2002, Yin-Yang applied for and obtained certification as a development partner with the National Science Council for Economic Planning thereby gaining access to large sums of unallocated R&D funds. In the 2007, Yin-Yang Electronic easily secured the $700 million contract award to upgrade the WRA station computer hardware when all members of the contract award committee unanimously voted in their favor; an unprecedented and infelicitous action.

At the time of the award, there were suspicions that the pending approval was “leaked” as a favor to selected campaign supporters so they could buy into Yin-Yang Electronic before their stock price soared; which it did, up to $500 per share. Legal action has not been ruled out although once again, no concrete proof has been discovered to support our source’s claims.

At the time, there were also accusations that Yin had used his influential political and business contacts to obtain a list of the members of the contract award committee and then proceeded to bribe them by inviting them to his private guest house and lavishly entertaining them there. If Yin had kept records of these transactions, it would certainly provide ample reason to suspect that his untimely death was far from accidental.

Yin Mo-Qian had made no provision for a successor to his massive legacy and it is rumored that his two brothers are quarreling and intend to settle their disputes in court through arbitration. The unpredictable outcome of this conflict, coupled with the perception that his partner Yang Jin-Cheng is not capable of managing manufacturing, product management and sales alone, has caused the Yin-Yang stock to plummet to its lowest point in years.

The government is faced with the formidable task of preventing a national economic crisis while simultaneously trying to maintain public confidence in their widely publicized campaign to eradicate government corruption.

After he had finished reading the article, Huai delayed contacting Zhang until he had called Yang at the office to see what could be done. “Have you read the story in the evening News? What can we do to fight back against the media attack dogs?”

“Congressman Yen called with the same question. I am convening an emergency conference at the office to devise a plan of action. Come here as fast as possible!”

Huai-Yuan frantically flagged a taxi and went directly to Yin-Yang headquarters. He burst into Yang’s office out of breath and wet with perspiration. “What the hell are we going to do?”

“Calm down so we can analyze this rationally! Our collective reputations are hanging by a thread so we have to carefully formulate our response to this innuendo or the situation could get totally out of control, with disastrous consequences.”

“Who the hell do you think their ‘deep throat’ is? The only ones with knowledge of our complicity related to the pumping station project are you, me and of course Mo-Qian.”

“You and I both understand how delicate dealing with government officials to gain a competitive advantage can be. Why would we want to bring this shit storm down on our heads? And of course Mo-Qian is dead so he is out of the equation. Although I have to say that he is the last person that would have ever divulged any information about it.”

“Yeah, true. Did Yen mention anything about what he intends to do?”

“He is going to hold a press conference immediately and categorically deny all the accusations.”

“The article also mentioned evidence of the illicit collaboration. What possible proof could there be? Why would anyone even keep documents like that?” Under the pretense of thinking out loud Huai-Yuan posed this rhetorical question to observe Yang’s reaction. Yang was a very devious and unpredictable person and may have concocted some convoluted scheme that included leaking secret information to the media. Somewhat relieved, he was satisfied that Yang was as clueless as himself when he saw him go into deep thought for an instant. “Let me call Zhang to find out what he said.”

Huai had only completed dialing half the number when the door to the office burst open. They both gave a startled glance at the door and Huai hung up the phone. Mo-Qian’s nephew, Yin Shan-Wei came swaggering through the door and plopped himself into the sofa with an obvious contemptuous attitude. “Oh ... I didn’t interrupt some secret meeting did I? What are you consulting about so mysteriously? Don’t stop on my account, I’ll just listen!”

Since Mo-Qian’s death, the shareholders had held an emergency meeting and appointed Yang as the new president of Yin-Yang Electronic. They could not allow the company to sail on with nobody at the helm, waiting for the distribution of Mo-Qian’s estate, and expect their share profits to remain secure.

This of course, left a sour taste in Shan-Wei’s mouth as he fully expected to replace his uncle at the helm of Yin-Yang Electronic after receiving his share of the estate. His attitude was that of a prince heir apparent to the throne and he rampaged through the company as if the shareholders had elected him to replace his uncle. Many employees felt he would win out in the end and aligned themselves with him.

Even prior to Qian’s death, the company was polarized into two competing factions and now Shan-Wei’s divisive campaign to assume leadership formed a third faction. The senior managers that had been serving Qian were getting apprehensive about these developments and were certain that the company would not survive. Most were biding their time waiting to find a new place of employment.

“Well Yang, I think we have pretty much settled everything. Let’s go have a drink and relax for a while.” Yang concurred and they left immediately but both of them knew that they were not finished. They just wanted to get away from Shan-Wei.

“Why don’t you call Congressman Yen and have him meet us at the company guest house? You still have a key for it, don’t you Huai?

“Good idea! Yes, I have the key. That’s about the only place we can still meet in secrecy. I’ll call him now.”

After Zhang had arrived, Huai went to the cooler and got a bottle of Glenmorangie scotch, the best they had. He grabbed three glasses, set them down on the table and poured a double shot in each.

Zhang picked up his glass and drained it in couple of gulps. “Who the hell leaked this information to the press? Now that my name is in the spotlight I can’t even go out of the house without first shaking off a pack of rabid reporters. It’s making me crazy!”

“Huai and I were just discussing that and there was no knowledge of any collusion related to the WRA project outside of us two and Qian himself. The answer to your question cannot be found within Yin-Yang Electronic.

“It’s obvious that Senior party officials are getting nervous and the contract award committee members are waiting with extreme trepidation to get subpoenaed for the justice department investigative hearings. It just keeps getting bigger. How is the government going to get a handle on this before it spirals out of control?”

“Well Huai, the ministers already held a press conference denying any illicit acts by the government and gave a detailed description of the entire contract award procedure to show that the process was completely fair and there was no chance for wrong doing.”

“Just give the members of the contract award committee a standard set of answers to give to the investigative committee. Then they can categorically deny any dereliction of their duties, accuse the paper of making false accusations and demand evidence to back up their claims. Now, there are no witnesses so you can sue the newspaper for slander and shut them down. The whereabouts of the only physical evidence, if it exists, is known only to a dead man!”

Zhang considered this for a moment and offered his opinion. “The only problem now is hard evidence. Even if an insider has seen the evidence, until it is located, any unsubstantiated reference to it can be dismissed as hearsay.” A thoughtful pause apparently gave birth to a great epiphany as his face lit up in a rosy glow as he continued. “Yes, go through the company archives and search for any documents that do not comply with all regulations for government contractors. If you find any suspicious documents, bring them to me immediately and I will deal with them.”

“Qian never trusted me even though we were equal partners and kept the documents for his business dealings secretly hidden from me. I don’t have a clue where to start looking for them.”

“I think I have an idea of where to look,” Huai said, “I recall that Qian often took his documents home with him to work on them but I never noticed that he brought them back in the morning. I think that if any evidence exists, it is in his home. But I don’t have a key to his house and I think if we hire a lock smith to open it, it would attract unwanted attention; which we don’t want to do at this time. What are your thoughts about that Yang?”

“I don’t think it will be a problem. Qian lived alone all these years and hired a maid to keep the place clean and tidy. Even his brother didn’t know about her which I guess is no surprise considering the animosity between them. She must have a key to the house and think it will be easy enough to find her phone number. Huai, contact her and tell her we need her to look for important business documents at Qian’s house. Offer her some kind of an ‘incentive’ like money or maybe a job.”

Zhang picked up his glass and drained it for the second time that evening. “Now that’s a damned good idea!”

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