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May 26 , 2011

Claw Back

A Susanna Sloane Novel


Securities lawyer Susanna Sloane, married to but separated from the secretary of the treasury of the United States, is enlisted by a bankruptcy judge to lend her expertise in a securities matter regarding claw backs.  The owner of a large, prestigious brokerage firm has been perpetrating a Ponzi scheme, systematically raiding his clients’ accounts, eventually forcing the firm into bankruptcy. 
Susanna’s firm represents many of the victimized clients.  The owner of the firm has fled the country, and the bankruptcy judge tells Susanna that she would be handsomely compensated if she could find the missing funds.  Susanna questions whether that may present a conflict of interest with her clients.
With the aid of an influential acquaintance, a Greek billionaire, who subsequently becomes her lover, Susanna travels to Europe and discovers that most of the funds have been hidden in Liechtenstein.  She successfully raids his accounts, wiring the funds back to the bankruptcy court.  But confrontations between her husband and lover jeopardize the success of her mission. 
The thief is on Cyprus and has made a deal with a vicious Russian Mafioso to engage in a heroin for cocaine swap which will, if successful, compensate for the funds Susanna wired out of his account in Liechtenstein.  The Central Intelligence Agency enlists her cooperation in thwarting the drug deal.  The CIA agents arrange a meeting between the gangster, the broker, Susanna, and themselves.
Things go badly when the Mafioso learns that the letter of credit taken out by the broker to pay for the heroin was valueless, and that her lover had used his influence with the bank to issue it.  The Russian has been paid by the Colombians for his effort in brokering the deal, and fears that the Colombians will come after him.  The thief is persuaded to turn himself in to the American Consulate for protection against the Mafioso.  The Cyprus bank is instructed to wire the broker’s funds to the States, exactly as had been done in Liechtenstein.
Susanna returns home to learn that the furious Russian has put out a contract on her and the Greek.  The CIA intervenes and suggests that while they attempt to locate and eliminate the Mafioso, she and the Greek seek refuge aboard his yacht.  But Susanna discovers that the “CIA agents” are actually in the employ of her lover.  She flees when the yacht docks in Aruba. 
She learns that the bankruptcy judge has decided to recover a portion of the phantom profits in her clients’ accounts through a system called claw backs.  She files suit to stop him.  Through a series of bizarre legal maneuvers, and with behind-the-scenes assistance from her husband who wants to effect reconciliation, her clients are fully compensated.

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