Was it 1977 or ’78? I don’t remember. I’m in a small office in the British Treasury. “Anything you say may be taken down and used in evidence….”
You’ve heard it all before, but this time it’s me, Stefan, the very talented filmmaker.
“What am I accused of?”
“Nothing. This is just an investigation.”
“Then why read my rights?”
“In case we find something. You arrived in this countryin January 1969. Did you bring in any money?”
“No, not really. Maybe a few thousand pounds, not more than three. I really can’t remember. My assets were my movie camera and a tape recorder.”
“Soon after, you bought a castle in the South of France on a Mediterranean island.”
“It was a run-down fort built in 1812.”
“How much did that cost?”
“I really don’t remember.”
Me, The Money Launderer
“Then a few years later you and your wife have a video company in the center of London with how many employees?”
Stefan and Tricia at the fort
“It changes. Maybe 60, 70 at this time. I can’t remember.”
“We want to know where all that money came from.”
“Leases, hire purchase—my mother lent me £5,000.”
“Forty thousand square feet in Soho, a fort in the South of France, all in just a few years. Come on, can you understand why we’re suspicious? Let’s start with the fort. How much?”
“Well, it’s confusing, as Dr. Durville quoted in old francs and his notaire had a different figure and the French/UK pound sterling exchange rate kept changing. I can’t give you a figure in either pounds or francs. It was a few years ago and, I hate to say this, but I really…”
“…can’t remember. Why don’t we start at the beginning, with the fort?”
Where Do You Go To, My Lovely?
“I was in Juan-les-Pins with Graham Kerr, the Galloping Gourmet. Tricia and I were booked to sail around the world on his boat. I had rigged up the ship’s galley with three Éclair ACL 16mm cameras….”
This interview with the Treasury continues for an hour and there are many more to come.
Three Years Later
I’m in London, running Molinare. There’s a man in reception who wants to see me. It’s the interrogator from the Treasury.
“Can we talk in private?”
We go up four flights to my apartment at the top of the building.
“Am I being arrested?”
The Molinare loft apartment
“No, it’s over. The department has decided to drop the case. I just wanted to come and say good-bye. It’s been a long haul.”
“You’ve been on it for three years?”
“Four, in fact.”
He’s standing at the window looking down at the street.
“Here comes your wife.”
“How did you recognize her? She’s a redhead now.”
“Before that a blonde, a brunette; long hair, short hair. We have a lot of photos. And your place in the South of France—amazing, magnificent….”
“You went there, to my fort on the Île du Levant!”
“Fort? Île du Levant? I really can’t remember.”