“This is actually quite a big fish in a small pond,” is what Dan had said. “I would imagine that the Leuven police would have arrested him a long time ago but somehow he seems to have slipped through the mazes. Quite a remarkable feat but it seems his luck might have run out.”
“Leuven isn’t exactly the place that I linked with organised crime of this type,” is what Anne had replied. “I studied there for five years and have never heard any stories of organised theft or prostitution.”
“Things have changed since the nineteen-hundreds, Anne,” Pieter quipped. “The North-Africans
moved in and now control the streets and most of the cash flow.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Red finally joined the conversation. “I’m sure this guy’s importance is exaggerated. Who told you all of this nonsense and what kind of rap sheet does he have anyway?”
Dan turned towards Red, the junior employee at the water cooler at that time, and readjusted his glasses. “For starters, I personally checked how many of the kebab shops he actually owns in Leuven. He has a quite significant market share, indeed nearing fifty percent. As for the escort service and the crime syndicate he supposedly runs, you won’t find anything mentioned on his rap sheet since he doesn’t really have one. Officially he’s squeaky-clean but when you talk to people on the street you don’t have to dig long to find out who really runs the show. His name even comes up in investigations here in Brussels. He kicks up a percentage of his profits to his syndicate bosses in the capital. He’s well-connected, I can assure you.”
Red shrugged, pretending he didn’t really care and had no interest in the story. “Whatever, I should be getting back to work.”
Recently he’d been following some of his colleagues around, waiting for them to leave their offices so that he could slip in and read some of their files. The minute Dan had brought up the Salem case, Red had felt the immediate urge to barge into Dan’s office and to go over the files. This Mugsy character was fascinating. The entrepreneur criminal was an archetype that fascinated Red. Much more interesting than passion-murder cases or white collar crime, these organised crime cases had a tendency to involve a whole bunch of unsavoury characters and that was exactly the part that he loved. All levels of society would at some point or another be involved in this story and it would be beautiful. It was no doubt not a coincidence that it took this long for Mugsy to be investigated. He must have paid off the right people to maintain his status as untouchable all this time. And at the same time, he must have pissed of one of these people for that untouchable status to be revoked now. This had very little to do with luck, Red imagined.
After checking the hallway, he slipped into Dan’s empty office to snoop around. He moved the mouse of the pc to deactivate the screensaver and quickly browsed through the open files. A couple of browser window’s with random google searches, a window of minesweeper and three word documents. One document entitled Mugsy Salem with at the top of the page a recent picture of the man. A recent picture of the man… Red’s heart skipped a beat as he recognized a face that brought back a painful memory. He had seen this man before. His mind raced to find the possible link why the guy she’d been with was Mugsy Salem.
A puzzled Red Carter sneaked out of an empty office into the hallway of a Brussels office-building.