Sunday, July 5, 2020

19. BEDLAM








On Retainer to Prince Albert of Monaco

June 2003, London





When we finished with CIA at their Park Lane hotel, the Prince and I bolted to our second stop, my brother's Bedlam Bar in Hampstead Village, arriving at 8:30.  







A bottle of good champagne had been chilled in advance of our arrival, but the Prince opted instead for the Walt Freeman Lobotomy, an absinthe-based cocktail. 













Bedlam Private Dining

I was joined by my deputy, Piers, to brief the Prince over hot dogs, french fries, and a bottle of Ridge Geyserville zinfandel in Bedlam’s upstairs private 
dining room.







Allied forces, we told him, had discovered documents in Iraq linking Patric Maugein to Saddam Hussein, who had wired $600,000 each month to a European bank account belonging to Maugein—presumably for Jacques Chirac.  


Bedlam Cocktails


Moreover, ex-Iraqi Prime Minister Tariq Aziz revealed under interrogation that Maugein received $5 million from Iraq for Chirac’s presidential campaign, adding the Iraqis believed Maugein was Chirac’s nephew.

Then we addressed the Prince’s request for information on one Kenneth Anderson, a British national who had presented himself as the owner of Vantis PLC, which desired to purchase shares in Monaco’s ASM football team.

We had determined that Vantis was not owned by Anderson; that Anderson was merely an accountant used by Vantis as a proxy for purchasing companies.  

We learned through sources that Anderson, by reputation, was “a dodgy, third-string footballers agent who occasionally turns up to make a deal with other peoples money and it always falls through.”  

Anderson had many dissolved companies to his name, and those still current had neglected their obligation to file company accounts.




Vantis PLC was actually owned by a UK national named A.L.R. “Bob” Thornton, also an accountant.  

Morton founded Morton, Thornton, an accounting firm that owned Vantis.  

Morton also owned a trust investment vehicle called Southwind Ltd, based in the British Virgin Isles.  

For its investment deals, Vantis used money belonging to its wealthy clients whose identities were shielded.  Hence, Vantis was nothing more than a nominee front.  

We recommended that the Prince request Vantis to declare precisely from whom such investment funds would emanate, along with the specific routing of such funds.  We could then investigate such a declaration to ensure its veracity.

Result:  No Vantis investment in ASM.




Next we addressed another requirement the Prince had given us pertaining to one Johannes van Dijk, owner of a nightclub in Monte Carlo called Point Rouge, rumored to be a haven for drug-dealing.


We discovered through investigation that Van Dijk, from Rotterdam, first came to the attention of Dutch police 20 years earlier when known criminals regularly acquired vehicles through his Rotterdam Mercedes dealership.  





Police suspected Van Dijk of involvement in criminal activity with his customers, which included a spectrum of fraudsters, organized crime figures and drug-dealers.  




They also believed he engaged in the altering of vehicles for smuggling.  

A Dutch police officer familiar with Van Dijk speculated that his enterprise in Monaco was financed with the ill-gotten gains from his associations with known criminals.

Result:  Point Rouge was closed down.

Next:  An assessment of what Russian intelligence knew (or thought they knew) about the Prince, with a view toward determining Russian intentions toward Monaco. 

Before briefing the Prince on its contents, we asked him to bear in mind that intelligence is an art, not a science.  What one finds in the files of intelligence services is based upon collection by agents and assessment by analysts.  It is not necessarily the truth, but their perception of the truth.  And it was their perceptions that were of interest to us.



        
We had also cultivated, through a former CIA operations officer, an excellent source within Italy’s intelligence community, and had commissioned a report on what the Italians thought they knew about the Prince.  

I chose not to brief the Prince orally, but passed him this report, which he read in front of us so that we could retain the written report for safekeeping.

When the Prince finished reading, I did not question him.  Instead, I asked if I should commission a second report from the same source that would name names with reference to Italian organized crime in Monaco and its connection to his own family.  

The Prince quietly said yes, signaling that he found this source credible.


Slutsky

The Prince provided us with a new requirement:  

To investigate a Russian named Leonid Slutsky, deputy chairman of the Duma’s Committee on International Relations.  

Slutsky was also a delegate to the Council of Europe and had been charged by that body to determine whether or not Monaco was a suitable candidate for membership.  


Slutsky, the Prince told us, had barged his way into the royal court and seemed to want something for himself in exchange for green-lighting Monaco’s acceptance into the Council.





Sadly, the briefing was interrupted at this point.  

The Prince and his friend Mike Powers had arranged to meet a pair of  brassy buxom blonde lasses from Sweden in the main restaurant downstairs, and their arrival took princely priority over our sensitive deliberations.



Saturday, July 4, 2020

18. CIA RECRUITMENT RUSE






On Retainer to the Prince of Monaco

June 2003, London


Once CIA signed on, SIS—which considers itself CIA’s gatekeeper to Europe—strengthened its own ties with our fledgling service, not least because SIS identified another issue (beside oil embargo-busting) that overlapped with Monaco, namely, a retail tycoon whose wife had established residency in Monaco to exile the family money from UK taxes.  

SIS suspected this individual, along with six other Monaco-based Brits, of insider trading and manipulating the UK stock market.  

So SIS requested that we assist them and I agreed to broach this with the Prince for authorization, as their target was the Prince’s sometime tennis partner.  

The Prince, without hesitation, authorized me to add this rather grotesque individual  to my target list and commence an investigation, both to assist SIS and to determine if the Prince should thereafter keep this generally obnoxious cretin at arm’s length.

The next step was for the Prince and me to meet in London with CIA and SIS (separately) during the Prince’s private visit to the British capital on June 17th and 18th—one full year since the Prince commissioned me to create his own intelligence service.

In a memo to the Prince, I wrote:  

The purpose of these meetings is to develop a high level of trust and cooperation between the US/UK and the Prince personally.  In practical terms, this means that we may call upon the tremendous resources of CIA/SIS to assist us with our ongoing enquiries.  Conversely, CIA/SIS may call upon us to discreetly assist with their own operational concerns in Monaco, an overlapping of mutual interests.  Best of all, these meetings convey the Prince’s good faith for wishing to keep Monaco clean of money laundering and organized crime activity.


The Prince landed at Luton Airport late in the afternoon and jumped into action the moment he arrived at the London Hilton Hotel, where we met up.

First, a short drive  up Park Lane to the Marriott Park Hotel where two very large men from CIA awaited us in their Marble Arch Suite. 

One of the two was European Division Chief Tyler Drumheller, who we had met four months earlier in Washington, D.C.





The other intelligence officer: Paris Station Chief Bill Murray (not the actor, too bad, would have made for a much higher L.Q.). 

CIA had decided that all contact with our service would be channeled through Paris.

CIA’s initial playbook was basic, if doomed to failure:  









Cut out the middleman and deal directly with the Prince.

This was not unexpected but in fact standard operating procedure, as our "chairman emeritus" Clair George predicted and then cautioned:  

If you’re the middleman, watch for the cut.




London, June, 2003

We were ready and watching.

The Prince and I had our own plan:  

I would coordinate all intelligence/contact with CIA, and I would manage and monitor all contact with any intelligence service.  

I could thereby ensure that no service took advantage of their liaison partnership with us.

As stated in my memo to the Prince:  

It is my role to manage these relationships; not only for maximum effectiveness, but also to ensure the Prince’s best interests are served.  As such, I become a liaison between parties—understood by all—with loyalty to my client, the Prince.








The dynamic duo from CIA wrote it up their own (self-indulgent) way, I soon learned.  

They fancifully mischaracterized our meetings in Washington and London as their recruitment of Prince Albert. 

"The crowning moment of my career," Tyler Drumheller was heard to crow around the corridors of Langley. 

(I know this because, by now, I had sterling sources everywhere.)

To my mind, and Albert's, our relationship with CIA was purely liaison-plus, which is to say, a special liaison partnership with no strings attached. 

Certainly, this was not a recruitment of the Prince, so much for ye truth setting anyone free (CIA's motto).

We would soon ensure that Congressional Intelligence Oversight (including House Committee Chairman and soon-to-be CIA Director Porter Goss) fully understood the true nature of the Prince Albert/Monaco-CIA relationship.

CIA, said the Paris Station Chief, had already notified the French internal security service (then, the DST) of their contact with the Prince; the French, he told us, had no objection to this arrangement. (France is pledged, by treaty, to defend Monaco, and they use it as an "offshore" haven for their own purposes.)

(I never asked the French intelligence services for permission to be Prince Albert's spymaster, though I would eventually seek their assistance, and receive it.)

In fact, Murray added, the French had been unusually cooperative of late, arresting terrorists and confiscating their money.


The focus of our relationship with CIA, its division and station chiefs determined, would be counter-terrorism, which was the only game being played by Western intelligence services in the years following 9/11, to the detriment of all else.