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|No, no, no. Think nothing of it. As you know, Manfred and I go way back. I consider a beloved disciple of his to be like one of my own blood.|
A dishonest businessman
The Amano Group was a company with vast international connections. This made Ernest Amano a very wealthy and powerful man. His work was far from completely legal, however, as he allowed his company's resources to be used by an international smuggling group based in Cohdopia and headed by Quercus Alba. The legal authorities were not unaware of the shadier side of his business, raiding company meetings on at least one occasion. Ernest's secretary, Colin Devorae, took the fall and allowed himself to be arrested, saving his boss from going to prison.
- Main article: KG-8 Incident
When Manny Coachen was arrested for silencing a witness about to testify about the smuggling ring's activities, Alba called on Ernest to prevent the crime organization's second-in-command from being convicted. Using his connections, Ernest arranged for the crucial evidence for the case against Coachen to be stolen: a video tape showing Coachen in the apartment of the murdered woman, and a trump card used by Alba to issue orders. Without these items, the prosecution was unable to prove his involvement, and so Coachen walked free.
Helping a loyal minion
When Devorae stole a gun from a prison guard and escaped from jail, he came to his former boss for help. Ernest gave his former secretary a new identity, that of "Oliver Deacon", butler to the Amano family and tutor to Ernest's son Lance.
A kidnapped son
- Main article: The Kidnapped Turnabout
One day, Ernest found that his son had been kidnapped. Upon receiving the ransom demands, Ernest called Miles Edgeworth, who was wrapping up another case at the time. The distraught father entrusted Edgeworth with the delivery of the $1 million ransom to the agreed drop-off in the haunted house of the Gatewater Land theme park. However, although Edgeworth successfully made the drop-off, the kidnappers didn't release Lance.
Ernest was also concerned about his butler, Oliver Deacon, with whom he had lost contact. The butler's disappearance was soon explained when his corpse was discovered. Ernest later showed Edgeworth a "love letter" addressed to Lance, who was discovered soon after.
Some time later, it had been found that the kidnapping had been faked. As Edgeworth was questioning Lance concerning the murder of "Oliver Deacon", Ernest used the ransom money to buy the deed to the haunted house from the theme park in an effort to protect his son. Ernest then presented to Edgeworth evidence that he thought would clear his son, but Edgeworth used it to figure out that the scene of the murder was indeed the haunted house. However, Ernest revealed his deed to the house, giving him the right to refuse the investigation team entry. Nevertheless, with the help of Kay Faraday's Little Thief, Edgeworth finally proved Lance to be the killer.
Just before Shi-Long Lang arrested Lance, the Interpol agent revealed that he had come to Gatewater Land for the purpose of investigating Ernest Amano, whom he suspected of helping a certain smuggling ring. Since Ernest had tampered with evidence to attempt to cover for his son, Lang was given just the reason he needed to arrest the Amanos. Unfortunately for Lang, Jacques Portsman arrived with his partner, Buddy Faith, and stated that since he had been put in charge of prosecution for the trial of the Amanos, he would take them away.
- Main article: Turnabout Visitor
Portsman was, in reality, working for Alba as well. The prosecutor was tasked with tampering with evidence so the valuable resources of the Amano Group would not be lost to Alba's criminal enterprise. Portsman succeeded in "acquiring" the gun used to kill Devorae along with the Devorae family pendant that Edgeworth had used to solve the murder. Far more important, however, was the video tape of the KG-8 Incident to which Ernest had been holding on.
Nonetheless, Portsman was arrested for killing Buddy Faith, who had stumbled upon the prosecutor when he was ransacking Edgeworth's office for KG-8 evidence. Although Portsman tried to conceal the tape on his person, Edgeworth confiscated it, and it fell into the hands of a veteran detective who knew it for what it was from his work on the case ten years earlier. The video tape went on to be used by Edgeworth to defeat Quercus Alba. Without Alba to protect him, Ernest Amano was convicted for his crimes.
Ernest Amano appeared to be a laid-back man who cared deeply for his son. When confronted, he would often attempt to pacify the other person. Ernest also seemed quite proud of his wealth, keeping a number of dollar bills tucked into his waistband. He had a habit of pulling them out and counting them when worried, or grabbing them tightly when angered. In addition, Ernest had a habit of talking slowly at times while gesturing with his palms, usually when attempting to calm others down.
Ernest did seem at first to deeply care about Lance, as he attempted to save his son from being arrested by buying up the crime scene, then preventing it from investigated. However, once he himself was threatened, he attempted to shift the blame entirely to his son to save himself.
- "Amanogawa" (天の川; lit. "heavenly river") is the Japanese word for the "Milky Way".
- His English surname is a shortened version of his Japanese one.
- His full English name may also be a play on "earnest man" or "man of earnest", an ironic name for such a corrupt character.
- In the French fan translation, his name is Richard Vachalet. Richard is a name which are from "rich" and Vachalet is from the French expression "vache à lait" which means "cash cow". To say that a person is a "cash cow" is tantamount to saying that he can be exploited at will to obtain advantages (especially financial). It is simply an image that refers to the cow that is being milked without complaint.