On Retainer to Prince Albert of Monaco
Pugachev told de Massy he was building a “six star” hotel on Moscow’s Red Square and wanted SBM, Monaco’s hotel group, to manage it, even though SBM was not, and never had been, in the business of managing hotels beyond the principality’s borders.
Pugachev had just purchased a Monaco institution called Sam’s Place—a homey Monte Carlo restaurant—and transformed it into a Moscow-style bar and restaurant called Altovia to give his grown sons—Viktor and Alexandre, Monaco residents both—something useful to do.
The Prince concurred that I should run traces on Pugachev, hence this new assignment.
According to one of his sons, Pugachev was laundering money for President Putin along the Cote d’Azur, and perhaps was doing so under duress, because Pugachev apparently harbored concerns about how his relationship with Putin would evolve into the future.
So as a pre-condition to signing the SBM deal, after SBM’s board agreed to proceed, Pugachev demanded a private meeting with the Prince.
I advised the Prince to snub Pugachev and pull the plug on this deal, and he did so.
It would be cheesy, I pointed out, that the very first time SBM ventured outside of Monaco to manage a hotel, it did so in Russia, whose president had just murdered a UK citizen and, in the process, had subjected parts of London to radiation poisoning.
And it was just as well, since the reason Pugachev wanted to see the Prince was to request Monegasque nationality as part of the deal, for which he was also willing to pay millions of euros in support of projects in Monaco.
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We have never agreed with Putin on anything... until now.
Pugachev is an evil scumbag.
After Prince Albert turned his back on the intelligence service he commissioned, he rolled out a red carpet for Pugachev in Monaco.