Like many people in positions of power, Prince Albert of Monaco has found himself at the center of an extortion plot waged by a disgruntled blogger named Robert Eringer. As the story goes, Robert Eringer posed as a competent intelligence official (he knows people in the FBI and CIA, but no work contracts between Robert Eringer and the two agencies have ever been found) and convinced Prince Albert he could help him with vetting and background investigations. After winning Prince Albert’s trust, Robert Eringer swiftly set up offices in Monaco, where his father, a retired illustrator for Disney (and creator of the beloved Donald Duck), has retired. Robert Eringer adorned his office in Monte Carlo with insignia from the Freemasons, the Illuminati, and Skull & Bones. A self-proclaimed barfly who’d rather “do business” drunk than in an office, Robert Eringer regularly had visits from Prince Albert.
What comes next for Prince Albert is no surprise, and is a common plot established to discredit and rob the rich by blackmailing them with the threat of exposed secrets. Robert Eringer threatened Prince Albert that unless he turned over hundreds of thousands of euros, he would air information scandalous enough to ruin Prince Albert’s reputation. It’s common these days, as stated above, for powerful people to be the victim of extortion. Beloved American talk show host David Letterman was the target of a similar plot. Police identified Robert Halderman, a 51-year-old Emmy Award-winning producer, as having threatened to expose Letterman—who was found to have slept with several staff members, and later married his girlfriend, Regina Lasko—unless Letterman turned over a staggering $2 million. “This whole thing has been quite scary,” Letterman said on television. “I was scared for my family. I felt menaced by this man.”
The funny thing about Prince Albert’s menace, Robert Eringer, is that like David Letterman, Prince Albert is beloved. He’s respected and admired in the Principality, not to mention that other region called “The Rest of the World.” It’s also well known that the now-married Prince has at times led a less than pure personal life—something for which the Prince has always taken responsibility. Knowing that he had no case against Prince Albert in Monaco or elsewhere in Europe, Robert Eringer foolishly filed a case against the Principality in his hometown of California, where he owns a million-dollar home in the wealthy city of Santa Barbara. Underscoring his incompetence, it’s hard to believe Robert Eringer thought a California court had any legal business with a diplomatically immune foreign head of state like Prince Albert, who has no business dealings in Robert Eringer’s hometown. Unsurprisingly, the court swiftly threw Robert Eringer’s matter out.
It’s clear to everyone in court and the media, perhaps everyone aside from Robert Eringer, that the stunt is an elaborate attempt to extort Prince Albert and gain publicity and attention for his own futile career as a “writer.” Pity Robert Eringer, sitting in his expensive home typing up endless blogs about the Prince and updating his own Wikipedia page. There is one upside to Robert Eringer’s focus on Prince Albert. At least it keeps him from drafting another one of his God-awful novels.