Redistribution

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Chapter 5

I’d smoked too much spliff the night before and drunk too many Whiskies. The deadly cocktail smashed against the side of my head looking for a way out. I showered and coffeed and turned on the tv. The news channels were alive with e-DRI. Correspondents from around the world were discussing the potential impact, the spreading demonstrations and the complete panic in government. All government reeling in fear at being exposed, fearing that proof may exist to show that they’d been caught with their hands in the till. The Hyenas defiantly laughing and standing shoulder to shoulder in front of the cameras in a show of force and proclaiming their extreme power before the world. Government and billionaire spilling over with self-interest, complicit in crime, unaccountable until now and here they were, heads held high despite being caught red-handed stealing from an old and helpless woman, still professing their innocence until the last but at the same time on the phone to the heavyweight lawyers to make sure the doors were locked, papers shredded, accounts closed, funds moved, people threatened.

There was a knock on the door. I heard helicopters circling. The FBI and CIA agents, a SWAT team waiting to come crashing through the window any moment but it was Steve and Katrina looking concerned. I gestured them in and like a naughty boy on his way to the principal’s office, I followed. I was expecting a lecture.

“I thought you were the FBI. Can I get you some coffee? I’m making for me.” The LA jet set is here to lecture me. Look at them.

“What are you talking about? Why would the FBI come here?”

“It was a joke Katy. Jesus man you look rough. Goris are you listening? Did you sleep?” God is he fucked.

“Not really, I was too busy watching tv.” Of course I didn’t sleep, I was watching the reaction to DRI most of the night.” He hasn’t told Katrina. He still doesn’t believe me. Arsehole.

“Coffee would be good, both of us please.” Take it easy before the attack. He is your best friend after all.

“Goris, How are you? That’s good. Goris, Steve and I think that you and Gallie need to talk. You can’t just ignore her and what about Jazzy? You’re great together. You can’t let whatever this is to destroy all those years. I told Gallie the same thing and I’m sure she agrees with me.” Who does he think he is treating those poor girls like they don’t exist? Look at him. He’s sick. She should leave him and take him for everything. I bet he’s got a young blonde holed up in a condo somewhere. Gallie deserves so much better. I’ll introduce her to my lawyer, Sol Grabitsky.

“Yea. What did she say? She’s the one who left. I haven’t committed a crime. I haven’t run off with the maid. I’ve done nothing wrong. Absolutely nothing. I tried to explain things to her but she didn’t want to hear it. She’s happy being an LA housewife pretending to care. Well I’m not happy being an LA husband, not me.” Stupid interfering bitch. I don’t need to account to that airhead. She’d never understand. She’s a plastic empty LA housewife and she’s just protecting her own.

“That’s not fair. She does care and you know it. She cares about you. And she’s not another LA housewife. She’s much more than that. Do you have any idea just how many charities she’s helped and not just with money, with her time. I should know because I’ve been helping her. We make a difference.” He doesn’t deserve her. Mid-life crisis. Go fuck your blonde and get it out of your system. I never understood what she saw in him anyway.

“I rest my case. That’s exactly it, time and money. Not real time and not real money. You’re so naïve, all of you. Do you really think that a bit of small change thrown in the right direction can make a difference? Better not to give at all. You might feel better but it will never change the balance between us and them. They will always remain poor and we will always remain rich. What your doing is a waste of fucking time and I’m not going to waste my time like that. I’ve got better things to do.” Waste of breath. How could Steve have married her. Too late for them. I wouldn’t blame him if he’s fucking around.

“So that’s what it’s all about, money. You resent Gallie helping those less fortunate than us? My God Goris, haven’t you got enough money? Look at all this. You make me sick…… What’s so funny? You’re so disrespectful. She’s better off without you. I’m not staying here to be ridiculed by you. You’re a loser. That’s what you are. Steve I’m leaving. You can stay with your friend if you want. I’m taking the car. And you know what else Goris? Every dollar she donated helped some poor child in Africa. She can feel good with herself when she sleeps at night. No wonder you can’t sleep. Maybe you should watch the news?” Dick head.

“Better you watch the news. Why don’t you become a Distributor?” Rich Bitch.

“Katrina wait. How am I going to get home?”

“I don’t give a damn. Stay here for all I care.”

“Thanks Goris, you did a great job. The cab’s on your account.”

“Stay for a while.”

“So you’re still on about e-DRI? Goris have you not seen CNN? They now have proof that Iran is behind it. They’ve got a money trail direct to the government. The president made the announcement. It’ll be on tv.” Maybe he needs help. I’m worried.

“I’m turning it on. I want to see. The news is in five minutes. How are the girls?”

“Missing you. Gallie’s crying a lot. It’s not like her. She’s confused, sometimes she thinks it’s gone too far to save and sometimes she wants to go home. She says she doesn’t know you any more, that she can’t talk to you about anything. She said she’d prefer it if you’d been having an affair.” He’s too selfish to have an affair.

“I’m sorry she feels like that. I’d never betray her, never. It’s true, we’ve grown apart. The money destroyed us not me. I’m glad we don’t have much left.” That’ll make him listen.

“What do you mean? Where is it?” Oh my God, we might have more than him.

“Gone. Not all, don’t worry. There’s still enough to live very well. It’ll be my luck that one of those investments I made will succeed and I’ll be back to square one. Quiet, quiet, the news…..”

“……..and now straight over to The White House where President Howard is holding a press conference.”

“Good afternoon everybody. Be seated. I have several announcements to make. As a result of the recent declaration and demands issued by the Iranian government, we are consulting with governments around the world before we come up with a clear American position. The US has proof beyond all reasonable doubt that the government of Iran is behind e-DRI. We are using all our resources to shut down e-DRI. We ask the American people to remain calm in this time of uncertainty. Any questions?”

“Mr President, Ari Cohen, New York times. Bearing in mind that the government had proof beyond all reasonable doubt that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, how sure can you be that this is the truth?”

“We have the evidence right here. Photographic and documentary proof, witness statements and intelligence. Rest assured, we have learned our lesson and never again will the US administration make the same mistake. Read my lips, Iran is behind this.”

“Will you publish it?”

“Not at present.”

“But will you publish it Mr President?”

“That’s a matter of public security? Any more questions?”

“Yes. Gower Randall, Washington post. Mr President, is this not a knee-jerk reaction, another case of Islamaphobic paranoia or are you keeping something from us? Clearly the reaction throughout the world is an indicator that this is more than a simple social website.”

“What’s your question? I’ll answer the first. No. As I said, we have proof that this is Iranian backed. The position of the United States is very clear. We will not negotiate with terrorists. Every citizen of the United States has the right to equal protection. We will protect our poor and we will protect our rich. Yes you?”

“Mike Sandelson, Herald Tribune. Mr President, I have read and re-read the statement and I would say that there are some who might agree with the sentiments behind it. How worried are you at the reaction worldwide, with demonstrations in many countries in support of e-DRI? Would you say that the day of reckoning has been long overdue and perhaps it may be time for the developed world to redress the inequalities?”

“The position of the US government is clear. We are a nation of entrepreneurs. We reward hard work and enterprise. This great nation was built by the rich, by the visionaries and by small business. Let us be clear here -no government, no individual, no terrorist will ever succeed in undermining the basic principles and values of our great nation. We will fight them on land. We will fight them on sea. We will fight them in space and now we will fight them in cyberspace. No more questions. Thank you.”

“That’s unbelievable. They really haven’t a clue. I can’t believe what I just heard.”

“Yea proof that it’s Iran not you. For God’s sake isn’t your marriage more important. In a few days, it will be old news and your marriage could be over.” He’s really fucked up. Delusional. I thought that in the end he’d put his family first. Still, it’s better for me.

“If my marriage is over because of this then so be it. You tell Gallie that I want her to come home and that she needs to be with me. She needs to be proud of me. I am just a member, one of one billion and what I did makes no difference. I’m proud of this and I am happy to be held accountable if the day comes. You and Gallie and Jazzy and everyone need to understand and listen. I don’t care if you believe me or not. It’s unstoppable. And if you want to see how the world is changing right now then I suggest you register and join e-DRI. The President is in for a shock along with the rest of the world. He can’t close it down. Nobody can. Let him try to fight this. Let them all.”

“Jesus Christ Goris, what the fuck are you talking about? You’ve really lost it. I mean, how much longer are you going to bang on about this bullshit? I’ve heard it and I believe you, Ok? So fucking what? You’re here in LA. You have a wife and a daughter that you’ve neglected for years because of this ridiculous obsession. You need to take a long good look at yourself and get a god damned grip or you’ll end up with no wife, no daughter and maybe no fucking money. She’s worth ten of you. I don’t know how she’s put up with all this crap. You’ve been a real selfish arsehole.” Now maybe he’ll listen. I had no choice. I’ve done my best. I gave him a chance. I love Gallie and she deserves better. Wow maybe they’ll divorce. I’d never thought of that. My God I could be with her. I’d better play it cool.

“I’ve failed as a husband and father. I know this but I’ve been pre-occupied. I’ve sacrificed a lot but I will make it up to them.”

“Pre-occupied, that’s a joke. You disappeared. You just picked up and abandoned your family and your obligations. Goris, I love you man but you’ve got to listen to me please. You’ve blocked out everything and everyone for so long, going away all the time. You were hardly around when your daughter needed you, and Gallie. You’re not thinking straight. I wouldn’t blame Gallie if she left you. Katrina’s right, you left them years ago. You know what, she should leave you.” Shit I shouldn’t have said that. Too bad. That’s what I want.

“I appreciate your concern and I know you don’t want to hear but I don’t care what you think. I love the girls and they know it. I’m here and I’m waiting for them to come back. I told Gallie that I want her to move back but if she can’t respect what‘s important to me then I don’t want her back. She’s the one who’s lost. I mean look at her. Doing charity work and gala events for fuck’s sake, hanging out with LA wives. She used to be passionate and ambitious. She’s the one who’s just rolled over. That’s not a life. And Jazzy has become a rich girl with no ambition and no passion, a typical LA empty vessel. What’s her future? Pills, alcohol and plastic surgery. I want more than that for my family.” I’m wasting my breath.

“That’s how you see it. We don’t see it like that.” Waste of time. He’s just not capable of feeling.

“You don’t want to and you won’t because it will undermine your rich little world and then you’ll become me.” If only.

“I don’t think so. We are happy and blessed to have what we have and to live where we live.” I’d kill myself before I became him.

“Oh my God. Listen to yourself. I feel sorry for you and Katrina if you’re happy with a plastic life, living the LA bubble. It’s an empty, useless existence and I thought you of all people would see it but I guess not. I guess you’ve been infected and it’s too late. I realised a long time ago that I couldn’t live like this. I’m sorry if it’s offensive to you but it’s true. I know that I did the right thing whatever the consequences. I can die knowing that I created something great. I hate the virtual world we’ve created and if I made money in it, at least I used that poisoned money to create something good.” I really should calm down. I know that his motives are pure. I shouldn’t be so judgemental.

“I can’t hear this any more Goris. You and fucking DRI. I don’t give a shit about it. It’ll be shut down in the end. Even if it is your thing, it was a waste of time. In a few months it will be history.” He is my oldest friend and I am screwing his wife.

“God created man in his image and I created e-DRI in our image. Just as we were given the ability to think so was e-DRI. You are absolutely right, it will be history in a few months because it is going to change the way the world operates. It’s not my DRI any more. I don’t want recognition. I paid for it and I fed it and it spread, way beyond my wildest imagination. I never had a clear vision or any ambition for it. Why should I take credit for it and why should I take the blame? Is God responsible for the evils of man?”

“You’re beginning to sound a bit fucked up.”

“Look Steve, I know I keep repeating myself. But when I sold out, it was like my life had ended. I’m sorry but it felt wrong and I didn’t want to submit to the money. Ok I did run away from it all and yes I left the girls and I’m sorry if I hurt them but I had no choice and the more I saw the worse I felt. I saw horrible things everywhere, death, disease, dying. I held a child in my arms as it died. How could I come back to this after that?”

“Because you had a family that needed you that were crying for you. They should have been your priority.”

“But I needed to do something. Maybe I was ill, certainly disturbed and that’s why I went away. You know what fishing means to me. I went away just to fish at first just to clear my head. That’s all I wanted to do. It’s always been my therapy but not this time. I had no idea what I was doing but something in me was changing as I saw so much poverty and death and evil everywhere. I never intended to do anything but I felt this desire, no, a need to help. Then I came back home and it made it worse. Then I left again and it made it worse. Then I went from place to place. I don’t know why and then one day, the light switched on. I met a man called John in Angola and I asked him what I could do and he said nothing just to listen. And that was when everything suddenly made sense to me. I didn’t have a vision. I didn’t hear the voice of God. A simple man wanted to be heard and all those months of wandering and fishing and it hit me that the suffering I’d witnessed, nothing being done about it because it was in a world that didn’t matter, was a world that had no real voice. A few well-meaning white people failing to change the balance. Then I started thinking about what I could do to really make a difference and that’s when I decided to give what I know and give what I have and that was obvious, a website. But I never foresaw this, never. I put my money into it and my knowledge to develop it and to spread it and Jesus, it worked because they were desperate to be heard. It took time to grow up and I watched it take on a life of its own from my office. What did I do that was wrong? Why can’t Gallie see that? Why can’t you?”

Steve left when the cab arrived. I sat on the couch again in front of the tv, laptop on my lap, logged in and checking the forums. I had no idea of time. I ate slept and ate, moving only from sofa to kitchen to toilet to sofa. The phone rang on and off. In the end, a persistent caller won.

“Hello. Hi sweetheart. I’m so pleased you phoned. Yes. I talked to them. Yes I’m fine. Missing you and Jazzy. When are you coming home? Did you talk to Steve? And? Maybe now you believe me. You see I didn’t do anything wrong. Yes I have. No not all of it. I haven’t lost it all. I would never do that to you. We have enough left to live very well. No of course we don’t have to move. I don’t know exactly how much. I promise you I didn’t give it all away. I don’t intend to give more away. Ask me then and I promise I will answer the truth. Yes I did. I promise you that I set up e-DRI but I never thought it would become this. No we are not in danger. No I do not think I am God. They can’t trace me and what exactly have I done? Anyway we are a hundred percent protected. Gallie I started it. I didn’t expect this but what I started has become something great. Do you know how it could change things? Please come home and be proud of me. Let’s watch it together. Let’s watch history unfold. I love you and I know that I was selfish and I know that I hurt you and I’m sorry babe. I’m sorry.”

I got through to her. I felt it. I sat back and waited for her. The doorbell rang. It was Katrina crying. I really couldn’t deal with her drama and I certainly did not want to referee a fight between her and Steve as I’d done so many times before. I gave her a whisky and she calmed down. Her $500 dollar LA make up had run down her face and I saw for the first time in many years, a natural Katrina, a beautiful Katrina. She kept repeating the words, ‘how could he do it to me?’ and naturally I assumed he had been caught cheating and not for the first time. I comforted her with appropriate platitudes. I told her that he loved her and would never divorce her. She said that this one was different, that it had been going on for a long time, maybe years. I told her that it could not be true, that he would have told me, that I would have known. I asked her how she found out and she said that he had told her. He had sat her down, looked her in the eyes and said that he and fallen in love with another woman. I asked if she knew who it was. She said that she had promised Steve that she would let him tell me.

“Why would you promise Steve anything? You owe him nothing. Katrina, I presume it’s someone we know then?”

“Yes Steve, it’s your fucking bitch of a wife and it’s your fault, your fault. If you hadn’t gone away. You selfish bastard.”

“What the fuck are you talking about? Never. Gallie? No way. She wouldn’t. I mean not with Steve?”

“Why not? Not good enough for your precious wife? Maybe you’ve forgotten, you stole her from him in the first place.”

“No I haven’t forgotten. I don’t believe it. She’d never do it. I need a whisky. Ok Katrina, we need to calm down. I can’t think straight. How could she? How could he?”

“He’s a bastard that’s how. It’s easy for him. You think I didn’t know about the others. I’m not stupid. But this is different. He always came back to me. It was me that couldn’t have kids. But this, Gallie. He’s always loved her, always. Couldn’t you see it? If you’d had your eyes on the ball, this would never have happened. She always loved you not him but you drove her into his arms. You, you’ve don’t this to me.”

“Wait just a minute Katrina. They’re the guilty ones not me. It’s your husband who’s fucking my wife. I never gave them permission.”

“You may as well have done. What the hell are we going to do?”

“Well there’s nothing we can do. I’m as shocked as you. I didn’t see it coming either. I agree you don’t deserve it. Yes I agree I do. You did nothing wrong. You were a good wife. You’re right, he will come running back and yes you don’t have to take him back. I know you love him but you deserve to be treated better. Yes they betrayed us. I don’t know how they could. You can get your life together, get divorced and move on. I know it’s hard. No, you’re not too old and of course you’re attractive. I do. No you’re not. I don’t want to go on the dating scene either. I can’t face divorce either. No I don’t have a lawyer. Ok thanks. You mustn’t breakdown. You have to show him what he’s lost. For God’s sake you don’t need a nose job and your boobs are just fine. Listen Katrina you need to pull yourself together. They’ve gone and they’re together. That’s life. Yes she is a bitch. He is a bastard. He is my friend. I’m upset, very upset. Well I am. It’s just that I have other things on my mind right now. Ok Katrina, I think you should stop there. You need to go, right now. I don’t want to. I don’t want to jeopardize our friendship. Please just go before we do something we both regret. It will make you feel worse I promise.”

Now the interruptions were over and the information had been boxed away, I could focus on the unravelling conflict. It was early when I woke. I showered, coffeed and turned on the tv. The first Hyena to openly challenge e-DRI was Gregor Ivanov standing in front of the press, immaculately groomed, his blonde six foot tall, twenty year younger, ex-model wife in a fur coat beside him and their bodyguards either side of them, smiling A1 Hollywood white implants, announcing through an interpreter in a strong Russian accent to the world media.

“I am a Russian first. A Russian will never succumb to threat. I received an email from a terrorist backed website, e-DRI, demanding the ‘voluntary disposal of my business and private interests’. I am sure that all of you are aware who is behind this terrorist attack. The authorities at the highest level are investigating this threat. I say loudly to those terrorists -I will not be blackmailed by terrorist or government. I will fight for my human right with all the means at my disposal. I have nothing to hide. I am ashamed of nothing. I am from a humble background. My father was a proud Russian, a good and humble Russian. I, like my father, am a proud and humble Russian. I will always be a proud and humble Russian. I built up Maslo with these hands and I will fight for Maslo with these hands. I am an honest businessman and a philanthropist.”

He was the first Hyena to come forward and he was scared. He declared war against e-DRI but never could he have known what he was up against. Yes it was true, he was a simple Russian, a thug and a thief whose filthy Mafia-style of business was no match for e-DRI. I was logged on, switching between forums and statements and the television debate, scouring files in the Information Department Ivanov file. Distributors were raging and demanding an example be made of Gregor Ivanov. Forums were alive and various departments of e-DRI were issuing statements. An emergency statement from the Legal Department was posted in all languages on all forums.

‘An e-trial will take place tomorrow. Due to the high profile rating and specific e-DRI request, the trial will be broadcast via video. Jurors are requested to register. Those who have been through registration before will be given priority. Voting in the case of e-DRI vs Gregor Ivanov will commence tomorrow from 2pm GMT. The e-DRI Legal department has prepared the case for and against. All files are open to view until 8am tomorrow from The Legal Department Archive Facility (LDAF). All members of the legal team and assistants representing each party are available online for questions. Personal files are open to inspection in the Information department, personnel section. If any Distributor has any information that might influence the case then this must be submitted no less than two hours prior to the commencement, to the relevant legal team.’

The email had been sent the night before. I was amazed at the speed of reaction. I was no longer entirely sure how the system worked. I understood that e-DRI was run by chain reaction but who or what was the first link? It had evolved beyond me and with so many complex layers. I had seen a couple of minor e-trials but this was the first real e-trial of global significance. I clicked into the Information department. The prosecution team was headed by a Uruguayan, Louis Garcia, ex-state prosecutor, anti-drugs campaigner, shot twice by the cartels and under him equally impressive teams of lawyers and judges. The defence lawyer Moses Monolo was a tough Ugandan ex-minister, ex- political prisoner, anti-corruption campaigner and under him, more high profile lawyers with impeccable pedigree. Files of detailed information were held for every single member of both teams, available for download. I came out of there and went into the LDAF and downloaded the legal pack. I skim read and scrolled down, slowing at the parts that interested me.

Gregor Ivanov, born 12th July 1945 -Kirov. Parents Gregor Ivanov and Manya Ivanov (nee Orlov). Father - high ranking member of KGB. Photographs of his parents, siblings, family, friends. I scrolled down the endless flood of information on his background, schooling, university. His closest friend in school, Andrei Popov, attended same University in Moscow in 1963,bla bla bla. I scrolled down, information about his first business enterprise when he was in university, supplying paper to students with Popov. Popov’s uncle was a high level KGB member. He lived in a big house and drove a car. He owned a paper mill. By 1970 Ivanov and Popov were wealthy and highly respected business people. Ivanov continued in business. Popov had been groomed for politics. Ivanov and Popov remained very close. Popov backed by Old Guard – quick rise through the ranks to President of Russia in 1979. Popov introduced major reform, dismantled the communist state. Ivanov - close financial adviser. Scrolling down to a section headed, Corruption in the Privatisation of state owned business, I read ‘government officials appointed to sell off all state business received substantial personal payments in exchange for disposal of state businesses to individuals, friends, family and associates of President Popov’. The Central Bank of Moscow (loan agreement attached and dated 27th September 1985) loaned Gregor Ivanov the sum of 2.8 million dollars for the acquisition of state owned, Maslo Oil in exchange for a 15% stake in Maslo oil and immediate repayment of the debt within seven days after acquisition of Maslo. On 27th September 1985 Ivanov transferred one million dollars to the Central bank of Russia for the purchase of state owned oil company, Maslo. (Attached contracts, photographs, audio.) On 27th August 1985, a transfer of 1.5 million dollars was made into a Virgin island offshore account in the name of Viktor Polzin (statements attached). Viktor Polzin was Head of the State Privatisation Programme. Maslo oil is the largest producer of oil and gas in Russia. Turnover in excess of 150 billion dollars. Maslo oil is wholly owned by Gregor Ivanov. A 15% stakeholding in Maslo was transferred from The Central Bank of Moscow to Ivanov on August 8th 1999 for the payment of 5 million dollars to The Central Bank of Moscow (documents attached). On 8th August 1999 four payments of 5 million dollars were made to executives of the The Central Bank of Moscow (all details attached) for 5 million dollars each.

Scrolling down, through more and more, a forensic investigation, witness statements, figures and details and accounts and links to photographs and statements and so many names and connections. Sections on tax evasion, tax avoidance, tax schemes, tax havens, diagrams and documents to explain the smoke screens, the legal and accounting barriers, the offshore accounts, nominee accounts, the investments, the funds, the gilts, the bonds, the loans, the shareholdings, the art collections, the gem collections, the car collections, the antiques, where the businesses were registered, why they were registered, photographic, audio and video evidence links exposing payments and deals with business associates, prostitutes, police, army, politicians. Then scrolling to the summation.

It was so far beyond all reasonable doubt that Ivanov was guilty of theft. The Russian people were the victims of his crime. A state asset feeding 140 million owners out of their mouths and into the two hands of one individual, filled his own pockets with billions of looted dollars, all funded by a corrupt bank, complicit and vested politicians. Ivanov’s stolen wealth took away hospitals, schools and roads from the people. As if that wasn’t enough, he found ways to compound his crime. His advisers found ways of avoiding the payments of tax. The victims again were the Russian people and the loss of more hospitals, more schools and more roads. Whilst 140 million lost, one man and a few accomplices gained, standing tall and proud in front of the cameras, bought Renoirs, Picassos, Ferraris, Porsches, diamonds, gold, houses, hotels, beaches, islands, soccer teams, plastic surgery, dental implants.

The case for the defence was of no interest. What could they say? There was no defence. He had been caught red-handed and we should not have to go through a trial. Ivanov was invited to appear in person by video link. To my amazement he consented. What possible defence could he have? The trial was a formality for the outside world to see e-DRI in action and shake in fear at the monster that they had forced into creation as a reaction to their greed.

I was completely transfixed to the tv and the laptop, blocking out Gallie and Jazzy for the time being, seemingly unaffected by the fornicating Steve and Gallie, eating, shitting and sleeping as and when necessary. Unaware of time, take-away, spliff and drink thrown into the mix, every moment thoroughly enjoyable, a reminder of my happy university days with no money and no guilt. I opened my eyes when my phone alarm rang at 11.30pm. The trial was due to commence in half an hour and I wanted to prepare. It wasn’t the alarm, it was the intercom. Steve was at the door, a nervous, guilt-ridden, traitor’s smile, walked in and sat down on the sofa, lit up the half spliff in the ashtray, poured himself a whisky, feet up on the coffee table whilst I went upstairs for a two minute shower. How dare he come here as if nothing’s happened? He’s fucking my wife and I should probably deck him. The words of anger were not really filled with anger. The hot water cleaned away any dregs that remained and I came down and sat in my armchair, calm and forgiving. I took the remaining spliff and a whisky. I had no feeling toward him except, college roommate and old friend, certainly not the man who was fucking my wife and not the bastard who had broken my marriage and destroyed my family.

“How come you’re here? I didn’t think you’d have the balls to face me.”

“Why not? What have I done?”

“Fucked my wife.”

“True but so what? She wasn’t yours anyway and I love her. You know that. I always have and now it’s my turn.”

“Well I took her from you in the first place. Let’s not go there now. I presume you’re here to watch the trial. Let’s put it all aside for now.”

“Yes. Everyone is glued. It’s unbelievable. The whole world is watching some fucking terrorist website taking to trial one of the richest men in the world. It’s a joke really. The arrogance of it. I mean, how is it possible? What the fuck is an e-trial? Who do they think they are? Come on man, don’t give me that look. No matter what way I look at it, I can’t believe that you did this. There could be war and you’re claiming responsibility. You’d better call President Howard and tell him his government is wrong and the intelligence is lies. While you’re at it, call the Iranian president too and tell him you’re sorry.”

“Look the trial is starting. Ivanov is on video link. Interesting, look at the background. Clever, he’s in a small room, photos of his family, his father and mother, old Russia.”

“Please state your name.”

“Gregor Ivanov.”

“Gregor Ivanov, you are charged with 10 counts of corruption, 3 counts of theft, 18 counts of tax evasion, 2 counts of intimidation…….How do you plead?”

“Before I answer your question, I wish to say that I do not recognize your court. This is a sham trial by mob. I have come here because I have done nothing wrong and I wish to proclaim my innocence to the world. I am a businessman like any other. I am a creator of jobs. I am a creator of wealth. I donate millions of dollars to charities. I have committed no crime. I am not guilty.”

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we are going to prove to you beyond any reasonable doubt that Mr Gregor Ivanov is guilty of all charges and must be subject to the maximum penalty of e-DRI law. We demand total e-execution. You have all read the reports posted on DRI. You have all seen the evidence. You have seen the evidence connecting President Popov and Ivanov in the disposal of Maslo oil company, a state owned asset. President Popov initiated the sale of Maslo oil company. Shares were sold to Ivanov at a fraction of the value of the company, funded by the Central Bank of Moscow (exhibit 2, 2a). President Popov, officers of the bank and other government officials all in collusion, paid large sums of money into their personal off-shore accounts (exhibit 3, 3a,3b,3c)……

“What defence could he have? It’s ridiculous. Just the tax evasion must be enough to convict him.”

“Steve you need to see the video evidence showing him giving orders to kill. Someone recorded him on their phone. Insurance I suppose. Anyway I’m only interested in his defence. I want to hear what he’s got to say. His lawyers maintain that none of the evidence can be verified. They say that without knowing the source of it, it’s not constitutional and this is trial by mob rule. I’m not exactly sure which constitution they’re going by. I think mob rule is a good way to try someone. At least nobody can get to the judge or jury. He’s already been charged four times and each time, he got off, witnesses changing their minds or disappearing, evidence going missing, jurors being threatened.”

“Shh he’s being questioned.”

“So Mr Ivanov, you state that Maslo was a legal public offer. Is that correct?”

“Yes. I applied for shares along with whoever had the means to purchase.”

“That is quite right Mr Ivanov it was a public offer but we have here the list of public that it was offered to. This is an official government list with three names on it (exhibit 6b). Can you please read these names?”

“Gregor Ivanov, Kristina Ivanov, Michael Ivanov.”

“You, your wife and your son. If I am correct, your son was 3 at the time. And this ladies and gentlemen of the jury is the public list of applicants for shares. Isn’t it true that The Central Bank of Russia loaned you $2.8m……..”

“This is all true. I applied under the rules of the offer. I applied for a loan to purchase the shares and it was granted to me. I followed specific guidelines set down by the President’s office.”

“Does it not seem strange to you that only your family were on the list of applicants for shares?”

“Yes it does. But it is not for me to question the authorities. I have never seen this list before.”

“He really doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong. Even the tax avoidance. It’s genius. Registering his billion dollar business in a small Siberian town, donating thousands of sheep to the people and then getting voted in as mayor and changing the tax laws so that he doesn’t need to pay tax and it’s all legal. I can see why he’d do this.”

“What about the moral issues?”

“What have morals got to do with business? Morals are not on trial here. It was tax avoidance not evasion and that’s legal. He shouldn’t be convicted on immoral grounds. Goris, even the videos aren’t conclusive. You can’t see for sure that it’s him. I mean they look like him but that’s not really enough and all the documents – his lawyer’s right, how can you know they’re not faked?”

“Maybe you can’t but the evidence is overwhelming and witnesses, what about them? He paid so many officials to get Maslo and 25% of the shares are held in trust for the president. It doesn’t look honest does it?”

“Is corruption a crime in Russia? It doesn’t seem to be. They’re all at it. If the only way to do business is to pay out then maybe it’s not really criminal. The frightening thing is that DRI is mob rule, the lawyer’s right. He’s going to be found guilty that’s for sure, but guilty because the DRI Jurors are a mob wanting blood not because he’s been tried and convicted fairly.”

“I’m happy if he’s convicted on immoral grounds.”

“I’m glad I’m not homosexual in your world because they’ll be next on the list and they’ll be convicted.”

“True. I’d never thought of that. The thing is that DRI is evolving. It’s a young government and it will make mistakes but it is learning all the time, I think.”

“Doesn’t it bother you that it might be wrong? Maybe the Hyenas shouldn’t be convicted? At least not by a third world mob.”

“From a legal point of view maybe but not a moral one. They’ve got, I mean had so much money and power that they’d always find an escape route. Well not any more. They can’t intimidate witnesses, judges, politicians. DRI is the best alternative to what we have and I am proud to have started it.”

“I’m sorry Goris but there’s no way you could have started it. I just don’t believe it for one second. You know nothing about it. You don’t know how it works. You don’t know anything about it. The only thing I don’t get is why? Why would you keep insisting? What’s the point?”

“You know I don’t need to prove anything to anyone. You might regret this one day. Maybe the less you really know the better. Steve. I don’t know why I should but I can prove it to you if you like but you’re the only one ever who will see this and I’ll deny ever showing it to you? Just be sure that you know what you’re doing. You could be seen as an accomplice if the shit hits the fan, a terrorist, locked away, tortured and no questions asked. Steve I am serious.”

“I’ll take the risk.”

“Sit down and I’ll show you. Why don’t you stay? It’s late. Stay the night.”

“Sure I’ll stay, I’ve got nowhere else to go. Come on what have you got?”

“Here take a look.”

“It’s a photo of a black guy standing next to you. So what? “

“Take a close look, what he’s holding in his hand. Take the magnifier and read what it says.”

“He’s holding some sort of printout. It looks like an email. I can’t read it. It’s from gobuddy.com. They’re a domain website. Goris that doesn’t prove a thing. “

“Look carefully, you can just see the domain name and check the date. Got it? At the bottom? See?”

“Oh my God Goris. It’s www.e-DRI.com. But it still doesn’t prove a thing. I mean what does it prove?”

“Steve what more do you want? Look at the date? How many years ago? Six years ago. Where was e-DRI? It didn’t really exist. Well now maybe you believe me. By the way, this is the only link to me and now it’s gone?”

“Jesus Goris why did you burn it? Gallie needed to see it. Everybody does.”

“No nobody does and nobody will. I will deny the photo ever existed. I don’t want the glory. It belongs to everyone. By the way, I want Gallie back.”

“I don’t know what to say. I’m shocked Goris, truly shocked. I suppose, I’m sorry I didn’t believe you. I’m sorry about Gallie. I’m sorry about everything. I still can’t believe it was you. Why? Why would you do such a thing? Do you realise what you’ve done?”

“Yes I do realise and I have told you a hundred times why. Anyway, let’s watch the trial and see why.”

“Wait a second, I can’t get my head around it. Let me get this right. You set up something because you couldn’t handle your money. So you sink your millions into a non-profit making website to let people around the world complain about how unfair everything is but without realising it, you’ve unleashed a global government, a kind of United Nations for the poor with Robin Hood ethics and the first thing you want to do is redistribute wealth which you may or may not achieve, somehow I doubt it, but what the hell does it matter because you’ve created the most valuable website in the world. Genius Goris. You see conscience is pointless. You’ve become one of your Hyenas. It’s fantastic.”

“Yea it is kind of incredible when you put it like that? Wow, I could be the richest man in the world. The thing is Steve that nobody owns the website. I couldn’t prove it if I wanted. That’s the beauty of it. There isn’t a single thing that connects me with the creation of it. Anyway, the trial’s starting.”

“Just put it on pause. Don’t you want to be the richest man in the world? It’s unbelievable. They’re not going to let this thing take over, you do know that? Somehow, some way, someone will track you down and then they’ll probably kill you. However clever you think you’ve been, there’s always someone cleverer and they will find you. You’ve declared war on the most powerful people on earth, every government, every politician and they’re coming after you. Goris, you’re on death row and you don’t even know it. They’re going to execute you and believe me there will be no clemency. They will find a way to track you, computers, phone records, I don’t know but there will be something that you overlooked.”

“Maybe Steve but there is no link to me. Every email was sent from my laptop and I changed it every three months. Phone records will show nothing because there is no person to link me with. It isn’t so much that I’ve tried to cover my tracks, it’s the way e-DRI is structured. Even if someone pointed at me, they could never prove it and even then what did I do?”

“And you think they’ll care. If you take their money they will want blood. I don’t need to tell you how they acquired their wealth and they’re all in bed with the politicians. It’s a powerful combination, more powerful than DRI. The only thing you can do to protect yourself is to come forward, take ownership and that will protect you.”

“I don’t want it and you know I have thought about it and ironically nobody would believe me and even if they did, I couldn’t prove it myself. So I’m not worried. They want to blame Iran. They’ve been itching for a war for a long time.”

“And then you’d be responsible for a war against an innocent country.”

“Do you know that over half the population of Iran, more than forty million people use the internet and of those, nearly half are Distributors? That’s an incredible statistic. I don’t believe there would be a war.”

“And if there was, what would you do?”

“There’s nothing I could do but it won’t happen. Steve, can we watch the trial now please?”

“Distributors, my name is Louis Garcia. Today is an historic day. Gregor Ivanov has refused voluntary redistribution. It is my duty to expose his crimes. It is your duty, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, to find Gregor Ivanov guilty of crimes against humanity. You have read the files and you will hear from the defence but we have proven beyond any shadow of a doubt that he is guilty of all charges. There is no defence that mitigates the crimes of Gregor Ivanov. We must send a clear and simple message to all Hyenas. Voluntary Redistribution or Total e-Execution.”

“I am Moses Ogwing Monolo. Today I will prove to you how Mr Ivanov acquired Masolo Oil Company through legitimate means. I will prove how Mr Ivanov built up a vast business empire within the law, moral and otherwise. I will prove that Gregor Ivanov is innocent of all charges.

“It’s good isn’t it. More Whisky? Help yourself.”

“It’s shocking. It looks like they’re sitting side by side in a studio and there’s no jury, no judge, no defendant. If everyone’s read all the evidence then what’s the point of a trial?”

“I don’t know. I kind of agree with you. It was a Legal Department resolution that went to vote. I’ve seen a few e-trials and the lawyers go over the evidence, try to pick holes, bring on a few video witnesses just like any other case. Then the jury go away for consideration and vote. It’s the process.”

“…….and so as you can see, please refer attachment 2, Bank of Zurich statement, Fyodor Antonov, Account no. 137645849, balance $5 million. The date matches…………..Exhibit 4, photograph of Fyodor Antonov and Gregor Ivanov at Ivanov’s family home……Video footage exhibit 11…you can see Mr Ivanov violently attacking a young girl, Ivana Lipov, an escort girl and again in exhibit, 12, 17,18, available for live interview …… exhibit 4…..blood diamonds….Democratic Republic of The Congo……and defence contract, exhibit 23a …….Jersey offshore account no’s …….”

“…..and you state under oath that Mr Ivanov hit you? I have evidence, defence exhibit 3a……video footage. Is it not right that you are known as Madame Whip and that you offer sado-masochistic services. And isn’t it right that Mr Ivanov was simply carrying out orders that you gave him?......50 million dollar donation to children’s home……a set-up…..blackmail attempt…..you’re lying aren’t you?........”

“I repeat. I do not recognise this court. You are taking away my human right to a fair trial. I am a businessman that employed methods accepted and endorsed by the Russian government.”

“Including murder and beatings and fraud. How do you sleep at night Mr Ivanov?”

“I sleep well thank you. I deny your accusations.”

“We have presented the court with overwhelming and irrefutable evidence.”

“I object to your line of questions. You are unable to verify the source of your evidence. My client has denied all accusations. That is why he has appeared in person. The only accused to do so.”

“Answer me this Mr Ivanov, you have accumulated wealth in the billions. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury I want you to take a minute to imagine exactly how much a billion dollars is. Please, if you would close your eyes. A billion dollars is, one thousand million dollars. How many people do you know with one million dollars? Imagine a thousand people with one million dollars. 15 bus loads of people with one million dollars each. Gregor Ivanov has more than 20 billion dollars. That is 300 bus loads of people with one million dollars each. And if you imagine that almost 80% of the world lives on less than 10 dollars a day. In one year they can earn 3000 dollars but never in their whole lifetime could they save 3000 dollars. Gregor Ivanov could give more than six million of these people one whole years salary and still have enough left for himself. Gregor Ivanov can spend a whole year’s salary on a meal for his family. This ladies and gentlemen of the jury is guilt, pure and utter guilt. A crime against humanity. I demand total e-execution.”

“I give millions to charities all over the world.”

“Yes you do and if you look at exhibit 771, you can see the very favourable tax implications of these generous donations. If you look at exhibit 771a, you will see a political statement issued by team Ivanov, praising your generosity. Your so called donations are simply for tax efficiency and political gain. Once again Mr Ivanov I ask you, how do you sleep at night?”

“I’m impressed Goris. I really am. These guys are amazing. I’ve got to say, the amount of information is just unbelievable. How did they get it? Some of it, the video footage is incredible.”

“The web is all about people’s private information and the ability to download information anonymously. Every company on the net is collecting and selling information on everyone and e-DRI is no different except it has over one billion people supplying information and expertise in every possible area. It is the most powerful information storage facility on the planet and it grows and learns all the time. That’s why no person, no government and nothing can stop it. Ivanov and all the Hyenas are already finished. The trial was for show. A warning to the other Hyenas to give up the fight. Almost one billion people voted for it but they also voted to let them keep some money, not some money but huge money. Nobody wants them to be poor not even the poor. Hyenas have been acknowledged as great business people and if they agree to Voluntary Redistribution they can keep 150 million dollars. If not then they will suffer virtual execution and you’ll see what that means in the next few days.”

“But how are you going to decide what their assets are worth? One painting might be worth that and are you going to loot their houses? What happens if they make more money afterwards? How are you going to monitor it? You can’t.”

“Well if nobody has billions then the value of a lot of things will go down, like art and antiques and that’s not wrong. It is ridiculous that the great art of the world belongs to the rich. These questions have been debated for months. There is a Redistribution Report which you can download. That explains how it all works. There are ways and everybody can be monitored. It’s only information and nowadays it’s all electronic. It’s there if you know how to take it. Coffee? Pizza?”

“Another whisky please. You know what, I’ll have a bit of pizza. Thanks. We haven’t done this since college.”

“Yea but then I fucked your girlfriend and now…”

“Yea I fucked your wife. I know. You loved her and I didn’t and now we both love her. She’s always been ours. You said it yourself back in college.”

“That was before we had a kid. Things change when you have kids.”

“Not for me. I haven’t got kids. I was hurt that you betrayed me not because you stole her.”

“Is that what this is about? You wanted to get me back?”

“No. Maybe. But I do love her. I think I must have always loved her. I just didn’t want to let it out. Katrina always said it. I am sorry I betrayed you. Truly. What’s going to happen?”

“Not a clue. I should punch you or something but I just don’t feel it and the crazy thing is that I love her too. She means everything to me and I know she loves me too, but I never felt that she was mine. There was always something between us and now it’s DRI.”

Steve and I sat on the same sofa. We drank several whiskies and an extra-large pizza and watched the trial unfold on tv.

“I agree with the defence. DRI is a breach of Human Rights and free enterprise. What right does anyone have to destroy a person’s life?”

“How can you say that? What Human Right did Ivanov use to steal a state oil company? That’s the foundation of his wealth. You heard what he did. He was a friend of the president. The state sold Maslo to Ivanov for a million dollars but Ivanov didn’t have any money so the state bank gave him the money and more to pay the bribes and then he paid the bank back immediately and dumped 5 million dollars in the banker’s private offshore accounts. That’s the theft and the people want it back and the money he made on it. He is a common criminal. The only reason you can’t see it, is because it rocks your boat. It doesn’t feel safe because they might come after you. Don’t worry, you haven’t got enough money luckily.”

“I’m happy to hear it but what if my new business makes huge money?”

“Don’t worry. DRI is working on global tax reforms. You won’t be allowed to keep the money. That’s how DRI will control wealth.”

“And that’s fair is it? So the governments will collect more taxes but what about all the corruption. Look at Africa and most of the third world that you want to save. Everybody knows that corruption is epidemic.”

“DRI will deal with it. You need to think of DRI as the world’s conscience. It’s Big Brother on its head.”

“That’s a frightening concept. It feels a bit Nazi-like.”

“Bullshit. You keep ignoring the fact that there are more than one billion consciences controlling it. This is no Adolf Hitler and a few thugs and there never will be. It is a perfect government system. It’s young but it is evolving at an incredible rate and when it reaches maturity, it will have half the world as its electorate. What fairer way than that to manage the world? Corruption and crime and war can be wiped out. Health and wealth and resources redistributed fairly.”

“How are you going to wipe out crime and stop wars? That’s fantasy. You think Al Qaida is going to redistribute their weapons or the Mafia are going to stop their drug dealing.”

“Not willingly but DRI have the information to dismantle them. We can trace their money, take their money. We can expose them and put them on trial and Virtually Execute them without fear of retaliation. They can’t intimidate anyone or bribe anyone because there is no one. Ok maybe we can’t stop crime and terrorists completely but we can hurt them in ways that no government can. Surely it’s a better system than we have now.”

“I don’t know. It all sounds great but I know it’s flawed. I can’t see it now and neither can you. It can’t be possible that the world will be run by computer. It’s science fiction.”

“It was and if you told me that a few years ago, I would have agreed with you but now it is fact. This is a giant leap for mankind - artificial intelligence is about to control the world. Maybe we created monsters with no idea what we were creating. We will see.”

“Goris explain something to me. I can see the way the trial’s going. That Garcia guy is superb. Has he really read all the evidence and seen the videos? There’s too much stuff. And the African lawyer?”

“They have teams of lawyers in the Legal Department. Specialists in every area from every country. If you go into Personnel you can check them out. It’s mind blowing. It is organised like a machine by a machine. When one lawyer sleeps another wakes. Garcia and Monolo are being fed by the teams below each of them. All the information has been read and viewed and reported. The report makes legal recommendations just as a judge would do and then the jury decides. By tomorrow morning the verdict will be in.”

“I’m falling asleep here.”

“Me too.”

“Hey Steve, wake up. The verdict’s in. I brought you coffee.”

“What time is it? I feel like shit. Christ Goris, I’m too old for this. Can you believe we did this every night in college? Anyway, what’s the latest?”

“Guilty of course. Listen, I’ll read it to you. I downloaded the verdict. E-DRI verdict, date…bla….bla…name Gregor Ivanov….Juror numbers, wow unbelievable, 140 million jurors… 84% guilty.. 16% not guilty. In the case of e-DRI vs Gregor Ivanov, we the jury find the defendant, Gregor Ivanov guilty on all charges of theft. In the case of Gregor Ivanov…….guilty of fraud…..and it goes on to list all the charges, guilty of tax evasion, insider trading, bribery, coercion and on and on…Level 4 sentence to be carried out without delay. No right of appeal.”

“God above, that’s serious. What does it mean? Level 4 sentence? Is that execution?”

“Yes. Virtual execution, don’t worry.”

“You may as well kill him at the same time. He’s not just going to let you take his empire away. Even if you take his money, the banks are insured. You can’t take his shares, his gold, his houses and yachts and all his other possessions. It just cannot work.”

“Why don’t you watch and then see how it unfolds. It’s all online. It’s like a Roman arena.”

“Yes and in the end Caesar is always murdered.”

“The Legal Department have issued him an e-offer. Listen. I’ll read it…e-offer 133…. You have been found guilty of all charges (verdict 79797 attached) and in accordance with e-DRI law, have been sentenced to Level 4 punishment, conditional….bla bla.. That means the punishment will only take effect if he does not comply with certain conditions, basically he has a deadline to start voluntarily dismantling his business and personal interests, including the surrender of his art collection, all bank deposits and so on. Incredible, there is a list of assets, bank accounts, nominee onshore and off, shareholdings, houses, yachts, art, antiques and cars. The list goes on and on, look at this Steve, there’s pages and pages. There’s a section with contact details for advice on procedure, accounts to transfer money into. And then it says….failure to comply will result in the immediate transfer of incriminating evidence in all formats to the authorities. E-DRI will use all influences to ensure maximum conviction and full damages. You will find attached a summary of evidence that will be used against you in a terrestrial court of law. This offer expires in 24 hours. If you wish to accept this offer, please sign the attached Redistribution of Wealth document…..Well, impressed?”

“It’s not real. It can’t be. The police will do something, governments won’t let this happen.”

“What will they do? There is nothing they can do. Do you know if he doesn’t comply and the authorities do some deal with him, e-DRI will unleash hell on earth. There will be terrestrial and virtual demonstrations. It could cause terrestrial and cyber war. If you think President Howard hasn’t just shat himself along with the rest of the political world then you’re wrong. The Hyenas must be selling up and hiding the cash under the bed because that’s the safest place. Tomorrow morning you are going to see something that will blow you away. You’ll see, Ivanov will never accept this offer, never because he and everyone else haven’t had time to accept e-DRI and he wants to keep his money of course because he is a greed bastard. He’ll be taking advice from all his people not to do anything and his people will be in discussion with the police, agencies and the government and their people will be in discussion with other people. The government will be taking advice from other government, all debating how and if it’s possible to close down e-DRI and the impact of that action. The UN supposedly neutral but always biased will be debating the situation in their usual bullshit, ineffective way and issue a bullshit politically motivated statement. And nothing will happen. There will be panic behind the scenes and calm in front of the camera.”

“I’ve got to say Steve, I almost believe you but it’s so crazy. Look President Popov is about to make a statement. Isn’t that Ivanov next to him.”

“Citizens of Russia, we are facing a new global threat, a cyberthreat which undermines our very freedoms and our human rights that we have fought for with Russian blood. This attack is an attack not just against one man but against every single man, woman and child, Russian and otherwise. Gregor Ivanov, a Great Russian has made a great gesture. Mr Ivanov has donated 500 million dollars to the Russian Charity Commission as a gesture of peace. And now, as President of the Russian people and head of the Russian government, I direct my words to you the creators of e-DRI with the full force of our will. We do not and never will we succumb to the evils of terrorism. We do not and never will we be held to ransom by terrorist elements infiltrating our democratic systems. This is a warning.”

“There’s no way he could say those things without the US government behind him.”

“I’m sure they are. This is a global threat of sorts.”

“Listen Goris can I stay here a few days until I sort things out. I know it’s a bit odd but I’ve got nobody else to ask. Anyway I want to watch God’s work.”

“In that case, you can.”

We hung out all day as if we’d never left college, as if I’d never stolen his girlfriend and as if he’d never fucked my wife. We shared spliff, drank Whisky, coffee, Chinese and chips. We listened to music, sipped cocktails and snoozed by the pool, both enjoying each other’s company for the first time in so many years away from women issues and business. We packed away Gallie, Katrina e-DRI and wealth as tightly as we could but every now and then one or other would break the binding and pop up between songs, during Chinese, in the silences. We spent the day between indulgences mostly talking about nothing and some of that time talking about something. Gallie was thrown back and forth, a few minutes here and there, but with no anger or any conclusion. We talked e-DRI, the principle, the power, the future and above all the issue of ownership. We sat on the sofa early evening in front of the tv, listening to the CNN and Fox perspective and predictions, BBC and Al Jazeera. Losing interest, we switched to Gone With the Wind and before Rhett said he didn’t give a damn, we must have both fallen asleep exactly as we had done some many times before and so many years ago. Then Steve nudged me and spoke but I refused to accept that I was awake. I opened my eyes with the full next-day weight and regret of spliff and alcohol. The tv was on, my laptop open, coffee and toast on the table, Steve beside me. I sat up and drank the coffee and picked up my laptop. e-DRI was active, an incredible 837 million people logged on, all awaiting the Hyena’s response.

From experience we both knew that it was too early to talk. We listened to CNN and the BBC discussing the Ivanov situation and the possible permutations and predictions and after much debate and many experts, the conclusion was that it was too early to know. We drank a series of coffee. Toast and marmalade. Showered and changed and back on the sofa. ‘Breaking News’ flashing across the screen……The Ivanov response. Gregor Ivanov has refused to accept the sentence of e-DRI. ‘We will never bow down to evil. We have raised our defences and we are ready to fight. We deny the charges….etc…etc..’

“So predictable. I’m sorry for him. He has no idea what’s to come. You see e-DRI has posted an automatic response… Steve?....’In the case of Ivanov vs e-DRI, the defendant has failed to comply with the conditions of sentence (v79797). e-DRI have now commenced stage 1 e-execution. E-DRI have released all audio, video and documentary information to the e-public domain (available for download in Legal Department Archive). e-DRI have released said information to the terrestrial authorities in Russia, US Government, Chinese Government, Interpol…..wow the list is endless, oh my God and they’ve released it all to the world’s media. He must have done some bad things… and listen to this Steve …..and incriminating evidence in all formats has been released to those associated with Ivanov, complicit in illegal activity - family, friends, advisers and associates. This information will be released to the authorities in seventy two hours. e-DRI reserves the right to release that information. The Department of Forensic Accounting in conjunction with The Department of Finances has transferred all Ivanov funds, nominee, offshore and onshore into an e-DRI escrow account. e-DRI Legal Department has received assurances that Gregor Ivanov will be subject to the full force of law if charged and convicted of any illegal activities.’ That’s amazing. My God they must be absolutely shitting themselves.”

“Who?”

“I’d say almost everyone. You see I told you they can’t close it down and I’m not sure they would. The only question is, what are they going to do? The media is going to crucify him. Do you know how many people he must have cheated in his life? I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes.”

“I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes Goris. This is totally fucking mad. You’ve signed his death warrant. They’ll be a lynch mob out for him. You Goris. You did this. I’ve seen the evidence. I’d want to kill him. And not only him, you’ve dragged in politicians, civil servants, lawyers, bankers. Important people. Fuck I mean this is big. You realise that you’re probably the most wanted man in the world? The only thing is they don’t know it’s you they want, yet.”

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