On retainer to Prince Albert of Monaco
Next afternoon, I met Romain Clergeat of Paris Match, as part ofOperation Scribe.
I introduced myself to Clergeat using the time worn principle of off the record.
We met in the bar of Quai des Artistes and eventually ambled down to Stars & Bars for a bite.
Clergeat told me he had seen photos of the Prince engaging in homosexual sex, “taken at a party, fifteen years ago.”
The Prince’s sexual preferences did not interest me, except for one thing: I always wondered, based on his behavior—erratic, indecisive—if he was being blackmailed by somebody, or more than one somebody.
The Paris Match reporter was also absolutely convinced that the Prince had a third child somewhere in Europe.
I had the same concern, but to those who ridiculed the Prince’s parentage of Alexandre and Jazmin, I spun thus: “In the early 1700s, King Augustus of Poland had 365 illegitimate children, give or take a dozen.”
It seemed a royal prerogative.
Clergeat also believed the Nicole Coste debacle was engineered within Monaco to embarrass the Prince.
Objective: To put him on edge and distract him from taking control at a crucial juncture.
If this were true (and I believe it was), it certainly had had the desired effect.
We agreed on a mutually beneficial relationship whereby Clergeat would investigate leads I provided.
His only condition was that I organize an interview with the Prince for a photo-story that would detail all the wonderful things the Prince was doing to improve the principality and cleanse it from corruption and money laundering.
The Prince’s lawyer, Thierry Lacoste, nixed any such relationship because of his personal grudge against Paris Match for exposing a situation (Nicole Coste) that stemmed from his own incompetence.
Paris Match had been sued, had lost, and paid a penalty.
But they appeared not to harbor any ill will and showed good faith to start fresh and move forward.
Lacoste would have none of it because of the egg on his own face.