The Trojan horse of an investment broker

Hiro Akata first heard about the arrest of his father on Bloomberg Investor’s news. Although there were more Akatas on the planet, indeed, there had been some Akatas in the news before. Yet, despite that Akata was a common name, like his father’s first name Hiro, he immediately realized that the spoken off Hiro Akata was his father Hiro Akata. At first a calm and roaring laughter escaped his bouncing chest, drawing the attention of his closest colleagues. As normally, they concentrated on their work with a heedful ear for hot news, and the smallest sound with the right tension could trigger their awareness. A few would always perk up their heads, some would walk over and stand behind the person exclamating their bellow of attention. Bruce had gotten up and now stood behind Hiro, both men now watching the black colored Bloomberg News screen, displaying the blocked white fonts, bringing the news of the arrest of Hiro’s father.

Bruce commented slightly joking, while Hiro was still aloof from the impact of the headline and two paragraph message about his father that was broadcasted to all the Bloomberg subscribers. Part of him, immediately thought of his own money and life at stake, his investments, his potential investers, his wife, his children, another part of him was quick to realize he had a certain obligation to care about his father. He laughed again, but his amusement came not without a formal sense that expressed his concern and unhandled embarrassment. Nothing and all was gathered in his thoughts, all without expression like a black whole of concern. Nothing really had stopped, nothing really was moving, he looked at the screen’s command box.

A few weeks ago, Hiro had handed his father a package from an art dealer. Werner Naumann was a German art dealer from Italy, whom was recommended to him by a prospective investor with he had had a preliminary meeting about a 15 million dollar cut. A day or two after the meeting, Hiro received a package by mail containing a color brochure with a set of diverse works of art regarding horses. Among others there was a picture of a Bolero horse, an antique life-size Chinese statue of a clay horse, a small wooden Japanese horse with rider, and some contemporary pieces, ranging in value from seventy-five thousand for the small piece to a little over one million dollar for the Bolero horse, which for his own taste was a little too plump for a one million dollar plus investment. He sifted through the pages, mainly looking at the prices, before placing the brochure back into the brown envelope.

He wrote down his father’s address on a yellow post-it, stuck it on the envelop, and handed it to David, the operator’s assistant who also handled the administrative tasks.
“David, could you make sure to send this to my father, please?”

The next day, his father had thanked him sincerely over the phone, calling him from London, where he lived half of the year. During the racing season, he would mostly come over to his estate in Connecticut, where he kept and trained about a dozen full-blood racing horses. The horse races was his true love in life, the track his true home. Even as a child, Hiro spent most of his time not at home, but at the tracks. Every now and then, there was the great, although rare event that his father took him along.

Hiro did not hear from his father, nor from the prospective investor, or about Werner Naumann for that matter, until a few weeks later, this was early last week. In a Newsweek edition at a friend’s house, he read an article about a network of stolen art dealers in Europe. By mere coincidence, the article carried a picture of the exact same Bolero horse, that Hiro had seen in the catalogue he received from Werner Naumann. He was shocked and asked his friend if he could take the magazine home with him, which he had done. At home, he showed his wife, and explained her the whole change of events that taken place.
She has calmed him somewhat however, by saying that most sculptures were not unique, and that succesful artists sold copies of their work, often to several institutions, musea or people. Hiro was reassured and had put the magazine at the old paper bin.

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