|What is Lacoste doing with his arm around Charlene's waist?|
On retainer to Prince Albert of Monaco
As I waited to board a delayed flight to London at Nice Airport, I received a phone call from an extremely irate Thierry Lacoste.
Sounding like a man caught with his pants down, he denied that he had been digging dirt on Jean-Luc Allavena (JLA) and demanded to know why I would tell this to the Prince.
I could not believe two things:
1) Why and how this was being blown out of proportion;
2) Why the Prince would be so indiscreet as to call Lacoste and say, “Robert told me…”
Was I back in kindergarten?
I explained to Lacoste that when I learned certain things from credible, tested sources, it was my duty to convey such things to the Prince, and for the Prince to decide whether or not it warranted further investigation.
Lacoste changed gears, commencing new rants: “I heard you were investigating me?”
Nonsense. The only time Lacoste had featured in one of our investigations was when Steven Saltzman insisted he meet FLOATER in Lacoste’s office. Lacoste himself was not a target in Operation Hound Dog. I told him we never targeted him for investigation.
Rant two: “French intelligence came to me and said they cannot tell you everything because of your connection with U.S. intelligence—but they can tell me.”
If I were the French I’d feel the same, yet the DST and I had found a comfortable level on which to cooperate effectively.
Rant three: “I hate Monaco and all its back-biting gossipers,” said Lacoste. “That’s why I’d never live there.”
Although we agreed on a pact to hold fire on one another until we’d had a chance to meet and resolve this issue, Lacoste told me, in ominous tone, he would travel to Monaco the following day and spend the weekend with the Prince at Roc Agel.
The knives had now been unsheathed for me.
Truth be known, I did not care.
I’d long since lost faith in the Prince’s ability to take decisive action; I was tired from travel, weary from the constant carping of others, and I no longer enjoyed spending time in Monaco, everybody stirring it up against everybody else.
As George Bernard Shaw once said, “Never wrestle with a pig—you get dirty and only the pig likes it.”
Sure enough, next day brought word from JLA that Lacoste had demanded the Prince fire me for providing him “bad information.”
The more I thought about this, the more I realized how good my information must have been to cause so violent a reaction.
From the Virgin Clubhouse at Heathrow Airport on my way to the United States, I spoke by phone with Jean-Leonard de Massy (The Prince's second-cousin and my assistant) to convey my Lacoste encounter.
He countered with his own story:
At dinner with Lacoste in Paris recently, the lawyer had bitched to him about JLA. “I’m sorry I gave him the job," Lacoste told de Massy. "I drew up the contract. He is dangerous for the country.”
Lacoste then introduced de Massy to Steven Saltzman, who suggested that “a group of us” will run things and asked, “What role would youlike to have in the principality?”