“A Murder in Ankara” – Episode IV
Harry Mays, whose reputation around the office was of a hard-assed partner who disliked even acknowledging the existence of those working below him, did not disappoint this time. He barely looked up from his desk when Kaufman entered the partner’s office. Nor did Mays offer Kaufman a seat on the leather couch that faced the view of Central Park. Instead, he kept one eye on his watch while he spoke.
“Kaufman, I’ve got a little problem here.” Mays said. “We’ve got a contract to check out for Markiz International and Cathy, whose been handling them for me lately, is apparently sick.” Mays grimaced. “The day before she’s supposed to leave. Anyway, the point is, I need someone to go and I thought of you.”
“Thank you,” Kaufman began, wondering how much more work he would have to do before he too was referred to by his first name. “I am sure—“
“Of course, it would be better if Cathy went, she is familiar with Markiz’ plans, but…” Mays said, waving his hand. “Never mind, I am sure you can do it.”
“You don’t need to worry, I will read up on the file and then—“
“You’ve got everything you need in that brown file,” Mays said. “And I’m sure you’ll be able to handle everything, it’s a simple due diligence. You’ve done international work before,” he paused and looked at Kaufman. “Weren’t you involved in the Algeria contract?”
Kaufman hesitated. “Yes, but of course it wasn’t—“
“That was a major fuck-up, Kaufman. It cost the firm a lot of money.” Mays paused and looked at his watch. “Listen, I have a meeting in a few minutes. Let’s get to the point.”
Kaufman nodded. There was clearly no use trying to say anything.
“You know that Markiz is one of our biggest clients, so it’s important to me that it goes through just perfectly.” Mays paused.
“It’s all in the folder but to be brief, they’re planning on buying some oil rigs from a Dutch company that’s been operating them in Turkey. There’s also a government drilling concession that’s being offered along with a production and sale deal via a state company.
Like I said, it’s the usual due diligence. Make sure everything is as the government and seller says it is, check the site and that’s it. All your meetings are in the folder, along with copies of the proposed contracts and some background material. If everything checks out OK, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t, you’ll initial copies of the contract with the foreign ministry and bring one back here for the final signing.”
Kaufman nodded again.
Mays pursed his lips for a moment as if thinking and then continued. “We’re particularly interested that this go through as quickly as possible. Turkey has had some Kurdish terrorism problem in the region where the oil installations are located. But that’s more or less finished. You’ll find an analysis in the file. Still, it’s one reason Turkish officials are being so helpful in negotiating a good concession for Markiz. If Markiz International invests in that part of Turkey, you can imagine what sort of signal that will send.”
“A signal to others that it is safe to invest there?” Kaufman said quickly, intent on getting at least one full sentence out.
Mays looked at George. “Exactly.” He paused for a second. “That’s exactly the point. In fact—but keep this to yourself— there’s a little issue of a very big pipeline that the Turks hope to have built to get oil from the Caspian Sea. Markiz would love to get its hands on that multi-billion dollar contract, which means so would we. I am sure that Turkey will be grateful for Markiz’ investment, which could go along way when it comes time for Turkey to decide who will build the pipeline.”
Kaufman had a clear picture of what was expected of him. It was simple. He was to pave the way for a deal that would pave the way for the real deal. “So I should give this a quick going over, check the figures and equipment and—“
Mays waved his hand. “Yes, yes, just do the normal due diligence. It’s not rocket science.” He picked up a paper, the meeting clearly over. “My secretary has the tickets and everything else you’ll need, money vouchers, whatever. See her on the way out.”
Kaufman nodded again. He had his hand on the door when he heard Mays’ voice.
“Just do what you’re supposed to do there and leave. We don’t want another Algeria.”
Installments of “A Murder in Ankara” by Lee Sherman are available only on NewsPlink.