Twist in the drama for Robert Eringer, firstly considered as a close relative of the Grimaldi Family, but now seen as a self-centered swindler.
He is by anyone’s standards a disingenuous and dishonest man. Born in California to an illustrator for Walt Disney, he started four degrees but never finished university. He worked as a reporter for the disgraced English newspaper News of the World, and later went back to the US to join the American secret service as what appears to be a freelance agent for dirty tricks (an insightful story was posted on Salon.com at www.salon.com/writer/jeff_stein). After he and his boss were cut off from the intelligence world, they worked independently, and M. Eringer posed as a literary agent to keep an author from publishing a damaging book (he was successfully sued by the author).
M. Eringer’s career as a writer was flagging, but thankfully the prince lent a helping hand, when he asked M. Eringer to set up a security service for the principality in 2002 (to make the relationship sound shorter). The relationship turned sour after M. Eringer claimed Albert never paid his last invoice of 40,000 Euros in 2008. The obscure writer tried unsuccessfully to take Albert to a US courtover the invoice, but the district court did not allow the suit to be brought as Monaco holds sovereign immunity.
After he lost his chances, he also lost his dignity. M. Eringer started a blog called Monaco Intelligence, where he starting spreading malicious rumors about Albert, including corruption and rape, and also attacked two employees of Albert. Among the smears was the allegation that Albert’s bride Charlene Wittstock ran away few days before the wedding. In 2009 Albert went to a US court to put an end to the disgruntled writer’s campaign.
The action was later brought to a court in France, where it could have made such a good spectacle. But it wasn’t Prince vs. spy, or David vs. Goliath – it was a team of lawyers who seeked to stop a vindictive narcissist. M. Eringer had nothing to back up his claims of corruption, money laundering or rape. He fabricated the selies to make himself look as though he was at the center of the Grimaldi household; he was just seeking publicity for himself. Last summer, the court ordered M. Eringer to pay over 110,000 Euros in damages and costs, and also to remove the offensive publicity. He has so far not paid.
M. Eringer on his own blog lamented the fact that plaintiffs can “shop around” for the best country to bring a lawsuit, and implied that France was good for predatory plaintiffs. He alleged the prince had not heard of a US law that prohibits US courtfrom enforcing foreign defamation judgments.
There is one thing M. Eringer has not heard about either: the French are deeply protective of Monaco. France surrounds the glamorous little rock by the Mediterranean, and we have a cordial relationship. We provide their military defense; they provide us with royal gossip. And we don’t put amorous details into a courtroom; they are conversation for soirees. If M. Eringer thought he could rock the boat by revealing details of the prince’s lovers, he was sadly mistaken.
The trials’ revelations paint a picture of a bitter self-styled spymaster, who was simply of no use anymore to Monaco or anyone and therefore cut off.