It was a fixed deal from the start--fixed at the very top by Prince Albert II.
Only two contenders for the Larvotto extension project in Monaco could have won.
One consortium was headed by Bassam ABOUKHATER.
This was the consortium Albert had secretly chosen, in advance of the bidding process.
He did so for one reason only: ABOUKHATER had been a close personal friend of Prince Rainier III, and Albert, with no mind of his own, wanted his father's ghost to make the big decisions.
In camp with ABOUKHATER:
No surprise, really: Two cousins within Monaco's second most prominent family--Michel PASTOR and Gerard BRIANTI, who boasts to everyone about being Albert's "best friend" (same as Thierry LACOSTE and Robert MUNSCH), or, as Brianti famously puts it, "I share pan-bagnat with Albert!"
And so it was that the Aboukhater-Pastor-Brianti consortium made it to the final round of two vendors, and were destined to win the contract, as already decided by Albert.
Except for one problem:
The silent partners of the only other real contender, which did not make it to the final round, were in position to manipulate Albert into killing the whole project, and do so under the pretense of "environmental concerns."
Next: Sore Losers--the snubbed consortium and its secret partners.