That's interesting tdalton!
But if Vesper was working for Quantum all along, and Quantum's plan was to get the poker winnings from Bond, via Vesper, why did Vesper not give Bond the extra $5 million to stay in the game?
Perhaps Quantum were having a bet both ways? Maybe they were happy for Le Chiffre to win, but they had a contingency plan (Vesper) just in case Bond won.
And so at the time when Bond dropped out of the game, it looked certain that Le Chiffre would win, so they had no need for their contingency plan. But then when Bond unexpectedly came back with the $5 million from the Americans and won, Quantum were forced to re-activate their contingency plan (Vesper). OK, that makes sense.
But I was thinking about the account number plot device while I was at work, and I realised what the core of my issue is.
It's not actually important when Vesper started working for Quantum, and it's not important whether or not Le Chiffre would be allowed to take the winnings from Mendel using Bond's password, even though he wasn't Bond.
The question at the core of the issue is, was the account number where the winnings were to be deposited supplied at the beginning of the poker tournament, along with the password? Or was the account number only given after the tournament, once Mendel contacted the winner? At the beginning of the tournament we only see Bond entering his password - we don't see Vesper entering an account number. She may have, but it's not shown.
Mendel's instructions are: "The money will remain in escrow until I return and the winner of the contest enters his or her password into the encryptor, whereupon the entire sum will be wired to any bank account in the world you nominate. Mr. Bond? We proceed alphabetically. Please be so kind as to enter a password of your choice."
This seems to be saying that the banck account will be nominated when Mendel contacts the winner after the tournament. But again, it's not conclusive.
Scenario 1: Each player enters a password at the beginning of the contest, and then if they win, they will be asked to re-enter the password, and then supply a bank account number for the winnings to be wired to.
Problem: If this was the case, why would Le Chiffre torture Vesper for the account number that she is planning on giving Mendel? Who cares? All Le Chiffre needs is Bond's password, and then he can enter his own bank account number.
Scenario 2: Each player enters a password at the beginning of the contest, AND nominates their desired bank account number. If they win, they will be asked to re-enter the password, AND the same account number, wherupon the money will be wired to that account.
Problem: In this scenario, Le Chiffre WOULD need to know Vesper's account number in order to activate the transfer, but the money would then go into Vesper's account - obviously not what he wants.
One explanation might be that Le Chiffre was bluffing when he told Bond that he was extracting the account number from Vesper. But this doesn't make sense. Bond is not a complete imbecile. His mission, which he was resolute in purusing, was to win the money and keep it from Le Chiffre. Surely Bond took at least passing notice of the rules for claiming the winnings. Bond would have known the conditions for the money transfer, and would have known that Vesper's account number was useless to Le Chiffre. Surely Bond would have questioned Le Chiffre's actions when Le Chiffre told him that he was trying to extract the account number from Vesper? "Dude, that's stupid - why do you want her account number? Are you planning on depositing your stolen winnings back into her account?"
Another explanation might be that Le Chiffre wnated the winnings to end up in Vesper's account, so that Vesper could withdraw them and hand them over to Quantum, as she did in the end. But this doesn't work for two reasons. Firstly, he wasnted to get the funds himself, in order to remain useful to Quantum and his creditors. Secondly, if he wanted the money to end up in Vesper's account, there was no reason to kidnap her and Bond - the money was always going to end up in Vesper's account anyway.
It doesn't make sense!