Sunday, August 30, 2020


On Retainer to Prince Albert of Monaco

November 2005

On November 1st, I had my first meeting, at M-Base, with Jean-Luc Allavena—or JLA, as I came to know him.  

He was tall and lean with a boyish shock of walnut hair he shook or wiped from his eyes.   

JLA learned from me, for the first time, the existence of the Prince’s unofficial intelligence service, and I briefed him on our genesis and mission.

This astonished JLA.  

Because less than one week before, Monaco's Minister of State Jean-Paul Proust had pigeonholed him and proposed… the formation of an intelligence service!  

Clearly, Proust had learned of my service to the Prince—and had embarked on a plan to vanquish it with a service of his own.

But JLA already “connected the dots,” as he put it, and understood that “the information networks at the Palace need cleaning out.”  

(As one of his final duties as lame-duck chef de cabinet, Raymond Biancheri, Franck’s father, had weaseled an honor for his corrupt son—Plenipotentiary—and leaked news of it to the media even before it was signed by the Prince.)

I briefed JLA on our most sensitive cases of internal corruption:  Biancheri and Narmino.  

I pointed out that the police, law enforcement, should be charged with investigating internal corruption, not my intelligence service, but the police department was a shamble and needed a new chief.  

I also proposed enlarging SIGER, and providing it with better resources, to tackle corruption properly.

I moved on to foreign residents, and how Simon Reuben had managed to buy his way back into Monaco through a Palace contact; how Umar Djabrailov, alleged murderer of Paul Tatum and others, had managed to quash his persona non grata status in Monaco; how Italians engaged in criminal activities queued up for citizenship in Monaco as protection from prosecution in Italy and, based on so-called promises "from Prince Rainier" managed to get it.  

Incredulous and appalled, JLA concurred that a zero based review within the Palace and at all government ministries would be a fine way to proceed.

During the next two weeks, JLA told me, he would move from Paris to Monaco and take up his duties officially on November 15th.  

We agreed to meet in Paris before then.

When I met with Police Captain Yves Subraud that afternoon, he had some interesting news:  

Earlier in the week Minister of State Proust had requested police files on… Dan Fischer/Francu and Umar Jabrailov. 

Proust had also snagged the Prince with his idea of creating an intelligence service.  

He and his allies, including Franck Biancheri, wanted to hijack the flow of intelligence.  

They had taken a good hard look at what the Prince pledged to change, realized intelligence was the means, and wanted to commandeer and control it.

With hindsight, I can see what must have happened: 

DST Chief Pierre de Bousquet had been disingenuous, speaking out both sides of his mouth. 

To me, he claimed he and "The President of the Republic" were happy someone was assisting Prince Albert. 

But de Bousquet was displeased by the un-officialness of our service, perhaps also by the American-ness of it, so he had gone to Proust and suggested the formation of an official intelligence service. 

And in the process, get rid of the American.

Reilly, Ace of Spies
Sidney Reilly said it best: 

Trust no one.

The Prince and I met that evening at nine o’clock for a working dinner at a trendy restaurant called Fusion.  

At my suggestion, the Prince had phoned Monaco Mayor Georges Marsan to warn him off Dan Fischer/Francu.  

As expected, Marsan was totally blown away.

To Proust, the Prince mentioned concern about several issues from our portfolio.  Proust had been amazed, maybe perplexed, by the Prince’s knowledge.

The Prince now reaped the benefits of a good intelligence service:  a feeling of empowerment.  

Knowledge is power, I reminded him.

So, the Prince asked me, what should he do about Proust’s insistence on creating an official intelligence service?

My answer:  tell him you are one step ahead—that you already have a plan to enlarge SIGER, the police intelligence unit.  

It needed two additional officers, greater operational security, and more equipment.  Voila—an official intelligence service—one that the unofficial service—his own—had already co-opted!

“Organize this with JLA,” Albert instructed.

CIA funding:  My deputy had traveled to Guernsey to open an account through which we could receive badly needed funding on operations that served mutual interests.  

Fine, said the Prince.

Operation Scribe:  already underway with USA Today.  

Would the Prince meet Newsweek’s Paris bureau chief for an interview?  

Fine, he said, agreeing to cut around the Palace’s media representative and conduct the interview in his Paris apartment with me present.

I had a new project in mind; rather, a modern version of a century-old project:  

The Prince’s great-great-grandfather and namesake, Prince Albert I, had created an International Institute of Peace in 1903 with a vision of using his principality to resolve foreign conflicts through arbitration.   

I proposed that we revive this noble concept, in the Prince’s name, as the Monaco Institute for Peace and Reconciliation.  

We would endeavor to invite warring countries or factions to Monaco and try to resolve their differences in a discreet, neutral setting.  

Such an institute would elevate the Prince’s status as a world leader, give him a platform as a global arbitrator—a role that once belonged to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson during his years as a congressman—and would also benefit Monaco’s economy.   

The Prince gave this project his blessing and authorized me to pull the elements into place.

Next day, Proust moved in on JLA, pushing for an intelligence service that would be run by his crony Alain Malric, a Frenchman who headed gambling enforcement for the police.  

(We already knew that Malric was corrupt, took bribes and passed data on Stephane Valeri to Franck Biancheri.) 

Malric was a Freemason in GLNF, the same lodge as Proust.  

Malric, Proust, and Franck Biancheri were a troika, and while Biancheri was himself not actually a Freemason, he had apparently wanted to be. 

So Proust had taken him under his wing to become a member of a Freemason-extension group based in Paris-based called Club 100, previously called Horizon 2000.  

As its name suggests, it comprised of a hundred “outsiders” accepted by the Freemasons.

It was a blatant attempt to politicize—if not outright hijack—the intelligence apparatus.  

JLA put him off, saying the matter would be considered and revisited at the end of November.  

JLA agreed that my idea of building SIGER into something bigger and better was great way to circumvent Proust’s plan while also improving a unit capable of producing excellent results.

That evening the Prince dropped by M-Base for dry martinis—Beefeater, two olives, up.  

We sat upon stools at the M-Base bar, one of the world’s great views:  Monte Carlo, Cap Martin, and Italy’s twinkling lights in the distance.  

I made the Prince aware of what Proust was trying to construct with Malric.  

He seemed amused.

Then I proposed my vision:  

To engage the intelligence services of Micro-Europe—Monaco, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Andorra, San Marino, and Malta—into an intelligence club, an association of services that would share information on bad actors and create a cooperative; a combined shield. 

The Prince already held a soft spot in his heart for Micro-European countries, evidenced by the high regard and courtesy he extended them during his investiture and imminent enthronement.  

They had been treated with the same dignity as large, powerful countries.  

The Prince gave this idea his full backing.

I brought the Prince up to date on other targets and operations, and he read our assessment of Islamic fundamentalist activity in and around Monaco.

The Prince told me he would be in Paris the following week to sign Monaco’s new treaty with France and to lunch one-on-one with Jacques Chirac, as requested by the French President.  

“Should I mention you?” he asked. 

“No, don’t bring it up,” I said.  “Let’s see if he does.”

“What should I do if he says anything?” he asked.

“Thank him for the DST’s support and cooperation.”      

Next day, the CIA's LIPS dropped down from Paris for lunch. 

Sorry, miscreant, you're not seeing the Prince.  

LIPS couched, as his own idea, a plan the Langley gang and I had conjured up two weeks earlier for a delegation of senior CIA officials from headquarters to visit Monaco. 

It was my hope such a visit would quash LIPS's constant obstruction of initiatives conceived in Washington. 


Sidney Reilly (born Rosenblum) is reputed to be the greatest spy of all time, celebrated as the Ace of Spies.

It was Reilly who coined this motto: Trust no one.

(Reilly eventually got himself killed—by the Bolsheviks in Russia—for trusting someone running something called—of all things—The Trust.)

As a spymaster, embrace everyone, especially your enemies.  

In The Art of War, Sun Tzu writes:  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

And trust no one.