Aristotle, yes, you're right. It's an algorithmic penalty.
However as their BS algorithm is so clearly open to abuse, it's more than reasonable to submit a reconsideration request, after a website has done all in its power to clean up Googles mess.
If they send an automated message, informing the client it wasn't a manual panealty, then they're even bigger idiots than I already suspect.
The more I think about it, the more important I think it is, to be adamant my client wasn't involved in any way with these links, yet has gone to great lengths to remove them.
Sending 900 emails manually, 3 times, has been a bitch.