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Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 47

Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli
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“Look... look... You don’t mind if I use the informal form of address, do you? I’m old enough to take that liberty.”

“Of course, doctor, it’s a pleasure,” said Roberto with a smile.

“Right, with regard to the insolvency you propose, I recommend that you be very careful. Your reasoning isn’t bad, but I don’t think you should underestimate the intelligence of your enemies. Right now they’re probably analysing your patrimonial situation, looking for the slightest change. They must have filed a written request to the Land Registry, obtaining reports. Without doubt, they will also be planning the snag of precautionary measures on your belongings. If these people acted otherwise, they’d be stupid, which we would be naïve to assume. Anyone who could come up with the satanic strategy we’re up against might have a thousand defects, but stupidity wouldn’t be one of them. If you start a campaign to liquidate your patrimony, not only will you encourage them to distrain it, but also to take extreme measures. The risk of them trying to kill you would be much greater. Having committed themselves to this murky business, I don’t think they’ll give in easily. The precautionary measures they could request would have to be in proportion to the amount of the maintenance payment which, hypothetically, you’d have to give your child until it reaches twenty-one years of age. Consequently, the implied amount is relevant. While the child is a minor, you’d have to take care of two hundred and fifty-two monthly payments. If we start out from an award of a thousand dollars a month, the amount they would have the right to distrain would be fifty-four thousand dollars. Considering the amount of the fortune, it wouldn’t be at all strange if they established a quota of two thousand dollars, or even more. It’s not common to fix such high sums, but neither is it common for the maintainer to be as well-off as you. What I’m trying to say is that the dissipation of your properties is not the panacea. It would take time; you’d have to resign yourself to selling badly, people would take advantage of your urgency, your state of necessity. If you calculate, you’ll understand that a large part of your capital would be lost in the operation. Meanwhile, when they see that there’s wastefulness, that properties disappear without a counterbalancing tangible, specific income, they could accuse you of prodigality. The rules of the civil code would allow the child of Juana Artigas, represented by her, to request your legal disqualification.”

“I hadn’t thought of that possibility,” said Burán, “I don’t remember the concept very well.”

“It’s quite simple,” said Bareilles, “if they prove that you’re wasting your fortune, that you have already offloaded a large part of your patrimony, the judge can disqualify you, classifying you as prodigal. In that case, a curator is named, without whose permission you will not be able to have access to your assets. You will only be authorised to carry out acts of administration, as long as the judge hasn’t, in addition, ruled out any in particular. As you can see, Roberto, it’s not so simple. I recommend you think carefully about this.”

“All right, I admit it’s not easy, I understand there’ll be setbacks, but I can’t see any other way of covering myself. I could also give the impression of selling, underwrite them to a friend, even if it is more risky; in that way I could conclude all the operations quickly.”

Bareilles shook his head. “I don’t advise that, my boy... It could be catastrophic. Whenever front men are used and the truth is falsified, it inevitably blows up, as if by magic. Do you know the first thing that woman would do? I’ll tell you: request the nullity of the transfers invoking an illicit simulation, formulating parallel penal accusations. You’d be involved in a criminal problem, at the same time as civil proceedings. With that attitude, the only thing you’ll do is benefit Allegri, who you’d give the opportunity to go on earning money with other juicy cases. Once your patrimony is offloaded, they will request that you be declared bankrupt, you would also run very big risks. In the bankruptcy proceedings, it would be easier for the sales to be declared null and void with respect to the creditors, among whom would be your offspring. The transmissions of your properties would fall within the period of suspicion. It would be presumed that the acquirers knew about your insolvency. Almost certainly, I can tell you that those transferences of dominion could be disqualified. The greatest inconvenience in simulating the disposition of assets is that it could oblige your friends, false acquirers, to restore all the belongings to the proceedings, in benefit of your creditors. Among them, your hypothetical child, represented by Juana Artigas, would be favoured. It’s much better to really sell, because if they nullify the operation, the buyer is harmed in the end, but you’ll have the money in your pocket. As you see, this synthetic view is not very hopeful. I repeat, this solution could be a leaden lifejacket... I don’t know what you think about it.”

“Yes, it’s true,” acknowledged Roberto, “the best advice for someone who wants to become insolvent is to really liquidate their patrimony. But I’ve got to do something; think, doctor, other women could be fertilised and the demands could multiply. Álvez is capable of anything.”

“I can see where you’re coming from, don’t think I don’t realise your fears are well-founded. Even so, I get the impression that this doctor wouldn’t benefit much from spreading your sperm around. Let’s think: he has to find women prepared to get pregnant by an unknown man, purely for financial gain. This is not at all easy: having a child is something that is still, fortunately, considered important. Feminine psychology is very complex; I’m sure Álvez knows it even better than me. The danger of these transactions is enormous. This gynaecologist knows that whatever pact he makes with a girl today, can be radically distorted tomorrow. When a female feels something growing in her belly, she naturally thinks of it as her own. Her instincts, the atavistic feeling of maternity, generally impose themselves over all rationality. In these circumstances, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to control the attitude of a mother. For Álvez it would be like walking over a minefield. He hatched an intricate plot to get Juana Artigas pregnant, haven’t you stopped to think why?”

“Yes, for several reasons, I think. In the first place, because she knew me personally, we’d gone out together before. In second place, I suppose he must enjoy her trust...”

“That must be the key, you explain in your letter that she’s a cold and calculating lady, very lucid and unscrupulous. You summarised all the elements that make up the personality of a fraudster. Álvez chose his accomplice well, but I bet there’s a strong, very intimate connection between them. The idiosyncrasy of Álvez, judging by your comments, would make him careful, absolutely distrustful; I can’t see him given to embarking on multiple judicial adventures and alliances. If he were to do that, he would risk distorting the story he’s made up, reducing its credibility. At the moment, anybody could be convinced of the truth and justice of the Juana Artigas’s explanation. She adopts the image of a poor woman who has been seduced and abandoned. She proclaims that she’s looking for protection of the rights of her future child and the assurance of sustenance. It’s the symbol of the poor abandoned girl against the powerful man. A Cinderella without a prince, used as an object to satisfy the low instincts of a millionaire. Within this plan, our enemies hold the winning hand. But if they pressurise you too much through greed and, to take advantage of the load of semen they have kept, they attempt other pregnancies, their position won’t be so comfortable. Judges aren’t naïve, they’re aware of the underlying reality, they try to sentence based on that.”

“Yes, all right, Doctor Bareilles, but you can’t deny that if they brought other lawsuits against me, the situation would be delicate. Just as now they accuse me of impregnating a woman, they could claim that I have an unbridled sexuality, that I left several others pregnant. The biological test would give positive, the only opposition I could give is my word.”

“I’m not ruling out those risks,” stated the old jurist pensively, “I’m simply evaluating the situation as a whole. We can confront this situation in diverse ways. One of them would correspond to what you say. Following a simple, but very safe, strategy, you would sell all your assets. But we can’t think of this probability as if it were possible to carry out conveniently in the short term. I’m emphasising the difficulties you will find while analysing those Álvez will find if he tries to inseminate the other hypothetical claimants. What I’m saying is that the plan they’ve set up so carefully would become unbalanced. It wouldn’t increase their possibilities of making a profit in the same proportion. On the contrary, the more they spread your sperm, the more people would be involved and the easier it would be for one of them to own up or become independent. Álvez must know that the maternal feeling will play against him. The fear of losing custody of the kid could make more than one of his collaborators stumble. Meanwhile, you’ll be able to use your economic power to dissuade them, counteracting the overall plan against you. If Álvez wanted to implicate more people, he would already have let you know, he would have threatened you before. He hasn’t done so because he knows that he’d be pushing you towards desperate behaviour which would cause your insolvency and you could even make an attempt on his life. Meanwhile, the image we’ll give before justice, if you empty your patrimony, will not be at all favourable. You’re not going to be able to play the role of victim that corresponds to you in front of the judge. In addition, you’ll have the threat of more legal action for simulation, fraud, damage and prejudicial consequences, prodigality. I don’t like it... Every battle compromises our decisions. It’s necessary to adopt a specific tactic and follow it firmly, until the current situation makes a change advisable. At this point, you’re at a crossroads: before the enemy troops, you must choose a strategy, only the results will tell you whether it was the appropriate one. To decide, you have to consider a multiplicity of circumstances. For now, I would face the situation without becoming insolvent. I would, however, try to diminish my patrimony, but prudently, waiting for balanced offers. While you’re alive, the economic offensive they can deploy only affects the value of the maintenance payments you have to make as a father, not all of your capital.”

“I’ve already sent them a message through Allegri; I told them that if anything happens to me or to my daughter, they can say goodbye to this world. And believe me, doctor, I’m serious, I can’t allow them to profit from our death.”

“Don’t tell me about this, let’s say, extra-judicial matter... In any case, although I understand your motives, I don’t need to know all the details. It’s enough for me to know that you’ve told Álvez to respect certain limits. There’s something else you can do. To make sure Julieta can’t be harmed economically if you die, I advise you to insure yourself in dollars. With a very relative investment, you can guarantee her a large sum in the case of your death. There are very solid companies, I can point you in the right direction. It would be a good idea for the policyholder to be someone else, some friend of yours who contracts in her benefit. That way you’ll prevent Juana Artigas claiming some right to the money you pay as premium. Insurers have no way of knowing that you are subject to a greater risk than normal. I hope your daughter never has to enjoy the advantages of this caginess, because that would mean you’d gone forever. Another thing you can do is to make a will in favour of your girl, Julieta is her name, isn’t it? Right, she can have twenty per cent of your inheritance freely, without your supposed fraudulent offspring being able to say anything. I recommend that you write a will...”

“I’d thought of doing that, Doctor Bareilles....”

Translation: Peter Miller (© 2002)
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Copyright ©Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli, 1990
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Date of publicationAugust 2002
Collection RSSGlobal Fiction
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