page 41: June 1993. Disaster strikes … My ruin.
After 13 and a half years of happiness in the USA, I return to France to be part of an international underwater archeological expedition (I was promised "National Geographic"!). It did not work out. I later discovered that the organiser, E.... S…. (I hide his name for he tries to sue me for libel), was a fraud, all his previous and later expeditions were fiascos) and ruins me ... Tough, tough.
TO THE ATTENTION OF CHRISTIAN FOURNIER
October 15, 1993
We can set up the photo lab on the back on deck 2, as shown above. The only renovations necessary would be: water and air access (entry and evacuation), and a workplan. The spot is adequately large, clean, and dry, and nearly lightproofed (except for some small holes that are easily covered). The only drawback is that it's perhaps a bit too hot (for developing film) when the main engine is running. However I think I can manage to keep photography work to when we are anchored.
Photo lab project for Eric Surcouf, by Christian Fournier. Page 1
The ULM Mignet, a hydro balerit ultra light plane.
I would have been in charge of taking aerial shots thanks to this super little plane stored on deck.
The catch-all equipment collection of Christian Fournier is very large and floats... it's a cabin on the underwater archeological research ship Eurotri 1. Aboard, Christian Fournier carries out the many duties of an underwater photographer, ship photographer, aerial reconnaissance photographer, as well as photo laboratory manager and IT manager for anything relating to storing or processing the image files.
The full story on the fiascos, written after-the-fact. Enough material for a book, or movie even.
E.... S…. is an imposter, he has never, in his long career found a single treasure. Ask him: "Which treasure have you fond, M. E.... S…. ?" He will speak of adventures and dreams, of the incredible feeling it is to dive on an unknown wreck, to collect funds for an expedition, to publish books about underwater archeology and you will forget your question: "Which treasure have you fond, M. E.... S…. ?" How many investors have got their money back? How many people have you ruined? How many people will you ruined in the future? Everyone who has financed him have lost their money, without apology, explanation, help or sympathy. E.... S…. is a good at convincing his audience and still manages in 2014 to take part in TV or radio shows explaining that he discovers tressures! The French press did not check their sources and lies to you!
Photographer Beni Trutman is the only one to have succeeded in condemning Erick S… by the Paris Appeals Court (4th chamber, section A, January 15 1997) to pay him damages and interest for the theft of his photos.
The career of Erick S…. : a long list of disasters at others’ expense. Among the worst: 1990 Mauritius, 1993-94 Eurotri, Mozambique, 1999: Indonesia. However Erick S…. continues to publish books and participate in interviews convincing others that he is a treasure-hunter. He is a silver-tongued and charismatic manipulator. He publishes books and blags his way through radio and TV shows.
Ask him: “What treasures have YOU discovered, Mr. S….?
"MR. S….’ SWINDLING DIARY"
1980 Haiti, l'ile aux vaches : Oxford shipwreck, hardly a discovery given so many visited the wreck before him. Not a single success with the exception of a porcelain plate of which he continues to reuse the photo (his only photo of “treasure”) even after 20 years.
1990 Mauritius : fiasco....
The Mauritian government is ready to lynch S….. because he illegally imported and sold diving equipment without paying taxes.
1993-94 : EUROTRI, failed expedition to Mozambique. The one which ruined me, as you can read below on this page.
LA DRASM, Direction of Underwater Archeological Research, (ref Michel L'Hour et Luc Long, tel 04 91 14 28 00, quai Tourette à Fort St Jean à Marseille 13002, organization which has long excluded Mr S… from the profession)
LA COMEX, President Henri Delauze ......30 BD DES OCEANS 13009 MARSEILLE, tel 91 23 50 00 bureau, tel 91 23 50 21 , DELAUZE Henri 2 quai Rive Gauche 13001 MARSEILLE, tel : 04 91 23 50 00 office / 04 91 33 89 31 home
1998 : THE INDIA FILE
1999 : INDONESIA
1999 : PASCAL KAINIG from Ocean Research Ltd, 251 rue du Fbg St Antoine, 75011 Paris tel 01 43 56 61 29, fax 01 43 56 61 29, was also wronged by Thierry P..... and Erik S…… , who ruined his Belitung project and illegally used 10 years’ worth of research. (See his testimony)
The formidable duo S…… -P..... is nothing but a couple of good-for-nothing conmen (punishable by law in France)
H20 CONCEPT UNDERWATER EQUIPMENT Diving, Hunting, Photography, Video, Compressors…
14 square de Port Royal, 75013 PARIS Tel : 01 43 31 73 14 Tel portable 06 60 94 33 80 Email : email@example.com Site WEB : http://prisedevue.photos Siret : 41139772200017, Intracom : FR01411397722, Agessa : 038756
For 13 years I have been a freelance photographer in the USA. I loved my fantastic but very competitive job. I spent a lot of time and money finding assignments. The jobs would be signed months later, the publications months later again and payments even later.
Thanks to my tenacity, my talent, my professionalism, my knowledge (prestigious photo school in UK, intership with great masters) et my diversity (underwater, aviation, sailing, fashion, advertising, travels, still life, conventions, press, colour and black and white lab, computers) and 13 years of good relations with my clients and coworkers, I managed to be known and lived comfortably.
In June 1993, as I am working in Bermuda, making a catalogue of all wrecks around the islands, I get confirmation by E.... S…… and T****** P***** that the expedition is afoot and my services required. I cancel my job in Bermuda. I will be the chief photographer on the Mozambic adventure. If we find "treasures", I will be published in "National Geographic", etc… E.... S…… and T****** P***** states that they have enough money to search for 3 years. I will be the pilot and manager of the light aircraft carried on-board for aerial reconnaissance, the land and underwater photographer, the manager of the on-board photo lab, the one responsible for the transfer of digital data from ship to Paris, scuba diver and French-English translator. Details of all this are exchanged by fax between T****** P***** and myself.
So I urgently and very expensively attend a course in Texas about underwater stereophotogrammetry to learn all about underwater photography mapping techniques, a great tool for the underwater archeologists. I give all my incoming jobs to colleagues. I urgently, therefore with great loss, sell my car, my furniture, my amazing hi-fi, my large computer station, and everything that works only on 110Volts / 50 Htz, like studio flashes, etc. Time is of the essence: a month and a half in L.A. between Bermuda and the port of La Rochelle (where the boat is), via Texas and San Diego. I urgently buy tons of professional underwater equipment (stereophotogrammetry requires a lot) and computer gear.
I spend without counting for E.... S…… and T****** P***** stated that I would be paid monthly from 1st of November 1993 onward. I have confirmation that a great 46 meter boat has been bought from the Norwegian government by Eurotri for 3 500 000 French Francs and that the contract with Mozambique exists. I buy enough equipment to last 3 years (every thing doubled or tripled). Our boat will be petty much in isolation because Mozambique is the poorest country in the world, we will have "treasures" on-board, so docking will be rare to avoid pillage from the locals. I organize all the shipping of my gear, I leave my L.A. apartment, find someone to take care of the sale of my existing photos while I am away. I also take a crash course in Ultra Light flying, since my licence is PPL and I have no experience in Ultra light.
I fly from L.A. to La Rochelle on October 10th 1993. I meet the other 19 members of the Eurotri crew, world class specialists in archeology, diving, history, navigation, safety, underwater detection of metal masses, mechanic, etc… All have been delighted by E.... S…… speeches and have also agreed to work without a legal contract. I spend time and money to set up the photo lab, my underwater stereophotogrammetry systems, my computer network, the Mignet aircraft, etc…
Catastrophe: the expedition is threatened. One week, we are about to leave, the next all is cancelled. HELL, HELL, HELL. The Mozambique contract was signed by the Minister of culture, which, in the poorest country in the world, is a joke. A British company has made a better offer. The Eurotry investors stop all financing. There ar no plan B. We are on our own. E.... S…… disappears. We switch to survival mode. We contact other companies, other investors. We sometimes have hopes, often let-downs. Cousteau is laughing. Christian Petron, Rives, La Comex too. They all know about E.... S…… They say he is a treasure hunter, not an archeologist. This goes on and on. My US colleagues get my jobs. We are all adventurers, but some crew members start leaving, one by one. We did not pay the French VAT on Eurotri, because it was suppose to leave France within a month. We need to pay 20 % of 3 500 000 French Francs! Every one contributes, hoping for a still possible expedition.
Philippe Naveau, the main investor in Eurotri, has lost everything: 90 million Francs! He told me in January 1994: E.... S…… knew in March 1993 that his Mosambique contract was bunk, but he kept going, hiring staff, without legal contracts, so he would be paid a high salary as manager, taking the ultra expensive Concorde airplane as his taxi, make huge profits on the purchasing of expensive equipment (decompression chambers, navigation systems, magnetic detectors, etc…). E.... S…… was aware of the havoc he would create in the staff members lives. Philippe Naveau explained to me why he recruited me: his previous photographer, Béni Trutmann has not been paid for his work on E.... S…… previous expedition to Ile Maurice and would not give the photos. E.... S…… broke into Béni Trutmann's studio and stole them and published them! Béni Trutmann won his law suit against E.... S……. But living in the USA, I, Christian Fournier, was not aware of that.
Philippe Naveau died a few years later, in abject poverty. He was, in fact, E.... S…… childhood friend!
My situation becomes dramatic: I have no job, no home, no car, know no one in France. I cannot pay my mortgage on My Canadian Property, my Paris postal box where my mail arrived, the person selling my photos in L.A., etc. I have no more money to go back to California: airfare, car, apartment rental, land photo equipment, living expenses until clients pay me. I get very depressed. I sell my underwater equipment. Since I am a foreigner to Canada and I sell after less than 3 years of purchase, I loose half of my Canadian investment to the government. I guess I did not read the small letters in the contract. Therefore, after selling it, I still owe them money!
E.... S…… had his business impeccably prepared: no binding contracts with anyone, all his assets are in his wife's name, the company Eurotri goes bankrupt and has legally nothing to pay. Easy scam. The crew members contact layers who all say the same thing: we've been had. E.... S…… live in a luxury house in the Indian ocean in La Réunion. Thank you E.... S…… My moral, my health and my eyesight is destroyed.
I learn later that E.... S…… has done many such expeditions, all ending in disasters. Here is one example with Antonia Goodland in 1998. I include this one because it is in English and will same me the translation task. I have waited enough time as it it with this crook E.... S……
|Here is one example with Antonia Goodland in 1998. I include this one because it is in English and will save me the translation task.
The following is my attestation of events and my experience as an investor with Mr. E.... S……. "
My name is Antonia Goodland and I live at 114 La Croisette Cannes, France. (Tel: 33 (4) 93 43 67 97.
I was approached by Mr E.... S...... in September 1998 through a set of coincidences too tangled to go into here.
He, and one Christian Dupuy in collaboration with architect T...... P..... had a shipwreck salvage project for the 'Soleil d'Orient' wrecked off the S.E. coast of Madagascar in 1681.
S...... was impressive, enthusiastic, dynamic, well dressed and apparently well-educated. He played heavily on the name of his renowned ancestor the pirate Robert S…….
I fell for their sales pitch 'hook, line and sinker' and after some reflection I said yes I would invest in the research stage of the Madagascar project.
Now I have to tell you that I am a 60 year-old woman, retired, living on my own. I am rather lonely and this seemed as though I had found something really wonderful to keep me busy and give me an new and stimulating interest in life.
S...... and Dupuy told me that I would be an 'equal partner' in the business and as I had a long background in advertising and public relations, speak French, and am semi computer literate, I would officially be the group’s 'Liasons Officer' and translator.
A month later one T...... P..... (an associate of S......'s) arrived back from diving in Indonesia and reported that the place was 'wall to wall’ shipwrecks.
S...... and Dupuy promptly put themselves on huge salaries whilst P..... was accorded generous 'consultant's' fees. S...... and Dupuy created an off-shore company in the British Virgin Islands - with 50,000 shares of which I owned not ONE single share! 'Equal partners' they had told me. A joke!
Then there was the absolute NECESSITY for S...... to have his own website. A meeting was called regarding this with a friend of S......'s who designs websites and although I was totally against this, I was 'out-voted' and once again found myself writing a cheque for a website!
Then came a long period of silence. They never telephoned me - never consulted me on anything - they made budgets - they broke budgets - they signed contracts - they broke those contracts - they hired - they fired. It was fast becoming a living nightmare.
S...... and P..... eventually left for Indonesia after hiring two young divers and subsequently they bought an old clapped-out outboard boat in Jakarta plus the diving equipment for nine people (yes NINE - they were only four!)
They rented a very large house on the beach of an island named Bintan (near Singapore), and started expensive renovations on the house and they also started the construction of a pier for the boat! (I subsequently found out through one Michel Tabourel, a Frenchman living in Indonesia, that the choice of Bintan was made by S...... after consulting a 'Spirit Medium' who, divined a map of Indonesia with a pendulum! So much for professionalism!)
Here the story becomes very long and complicated - far too long to tell here.
In Jakarta S......, P..... and the two young divers set up headquarters in a four star hotel, the 'Hotel Ibis', following which unexpected disaster struck in another area. S...... fell in LOVE with an Indonesian girl who he met in the hotel lobby and appeared not to want to MOVE from Jakarta!
Nothing was happening - no one was going anywhere. The young divers became restless and bored and started drinking in a serious way - and smoking marihuana! S...... exhibited absolutely NO control, no leadership qualities and often seemed to be in a world of his own, mumbling to himself, with extreme swings in mood. I judged his comportment to be extremely bizarre.
At this point I had flown out to Jakarta to see what on earth was going on and this was the sort of conduct that I encountered. And I was footing the bill.
After my arrival, we held many 'conferences' and with a lot of help from the hotel manager (a Frenchman by the name of Gerard Guillouet), who had very good connections in Jakarta, they eventually decided to move to an island owned by a friend of Guillouet's in the 'Thousand Island' group - just North of Jakarta - and set up base there.
We are now into week six of the 'research' phase of the operation and nobody has even got their wet-suits wet!
Week eight saw the official end of the research stage and the end of my contractual participation.
S...... and P..... struggled on their own in the Thousand Islands for a few weeks, with S...... allegedly putting up FF 150,000 of his own money. At this stage the Indonesian girl and P.....'s girlfriend from France were living on the island with them and S......'s teenage son had spent a week’s holiday there. It was beginning to look like Club Med!
S...... and P..... were then informed by the Indonesians that there was a shipwreck which had been 'discovered' by local fishermen in Belitung and which could be exploited for a price. What they weren't told by the Indonesians, and which I found out much later from the person concerned, was that this particular wreck had long since been salvaged by a French company (COMEX) and that there were only the pickings left - worthless pieces and shards which the COMEX team had either ignored or had thrown overboard. Mr Henri Delause, owner/president of COMEX (France's largest and most reputable salvage company) will confirm this. Tel: +33 (4) 91 23 50 00. (Mr Delause would also have something to say about the fact that S...... is fraudulently using photographs on his website of blue and white porcelain from an Indonesian shipwreck to which the salvage rights were awarded to Mr. Delause! After many polite requests and finally warnings, S...... has 'neglected' to remove these photographs from the website.)
I have digressed ....... back to the main story. Enter Antonia once again. S...... and Dupuy called me. "You must help us! We've got a wreck - a last minute discovery - it's great! Everything is going to be O.K! Antonia! This is a your big chance to recuperate your losses! Equal shares!" Yes really!
In for a penny - in for a pound. I put up another FF680,000 in three instalments and had to sell my few kilos of gold to do it. However it wasn't enough. Unknown to me they had already run up huge debts in Indonesia both in the Thousand Islands and with a shadowy (if not down right shady) Indonesian company (I.C.D.) which was trading in 'official' salvage permits.
S...... and P..... and P.....'s girlfriend left Indonesia approximately a month later with absolutely nothing to show for their time and the money spent there, abandoning all the diving equipment and the boat which had been badly damaged on a coral reef and had to be towed back to the Thousand.
To add insult to injury, when he arrived back in France S...... never ONCE showed me the courtesy of phoning or contacting me in any way at all and my repeated requests for an explanation of some extremely questionable elements in his and Dupuy's accounting went unanswered.
I subsequently went back to Indonesia, to try to save what I could. I cleared the last of the Indonesian divers' salaries which had not been paid plus S......'s and P.....'s food and lodgings and placed the boat and the diving equipment into safe hands.
There is a lot more to this story but far too much to tell here. I am sure that you have got a fairly good idea of the general train of it.
(Maybe one day I can make recuperate some of my money writing a book about how NOT to conduct a marine salvage operation with 1001 good reasons not to invest on one!)"
Finally, I think that I should mention that DRASM (Direction des Recherches Archaéologique Sous-Marine), the official body for diving in France, long ago excluded S...... from the profession after a long and intolerable history of this sort of spurious activity. (Contacts: Michel l'Hour or Luc Long +33 (4) 91 14 28 00).
I hope that you will give these revelations your serious consideration before recommending the investment of one single dollar of your clients' money with this man.
My most sincere regards,
It would be a good idea if you keep this update in your files.
Pascal Kainig from Ocean Research Ltd, 251 rue du Fbg St Antoine, 75011 Paris tel 01 43 56 61 29, fax 01 43 56 61 29, had known S…… for 15 ans. He led Thierry P..... and Florent Rodrigez to Indonesia in 1998 on the advice of S…… , to Belitung in the Gaspar Straight, as reinforcement on this operation. Pascal made P…. sign a contract, in proper form, with a clause of confidentiality for working on his shipwreck. P… pocketed the salary and plane tickets and wrote detailed reports on Pascal’s confidential information as Pascal’s employee. P… quickly shared this information to German competitors who, with much greater financial means, were able to exploit the shipwreck. Pascal appealed to Sourcouf and Christian Dupuis, insurer, to try to get a contract in place to exploit other shipwrecks thanks to Pascal’s documents. The offer made by S… was such a clear scam that Pascal voluntarily left the project altogether. S… used contacts taken from Pascal for his operation in Indonesia. Pascal Kainig claimed that he could have done much more than S… with only 200,000F, S…. used 2,200,000F from Michel Tabourel, a Frenchman in Jakarta who associated with S…. . His company: Marindo Surya Perkasa. Maril, a company in the British Virgin Islands. S… never paid taxes on his salary? HE COULD BE DENOUNCED TO THE TAX DEPARTMENT FOR THIS. Jean Louis Pereyre, archeologist from Eurotri, was able to give me more contact information for Philippe Naveau: Philippe Naveau : Philippe Naveau/Danielle Juncqua : 6 rue d'artois, 75008 Paris 01 42 56 14 17
Beni even saw one of photos stolen by S…. in 1999. LA DRASM, Direction des Recherches Archéologiques Sous-Marine, (ref Michel L'Hour and Luc Long, tel 04 91 14 28 00, quai Tourette à Fort St Jean à Marseille 13002, which have long excluded S…. from the profession)
Albert Mata, land treasure-hunter, editor of a treasure magazine, went on an operation with S in Polynesia and S…. still owes him money 2 years later, but Albert prefers to stay quiet.
As far as lungs go, all is well!
On 21-02-2011, Pascal GUIRAUD wrote : What a story!
So it has all come to an end : aviation, glaciers, sailing, horse-riding, the Studio in the Woods, California, Nicole and all the rest.
|E.... S…… went in hiding at La Réunion, in the Indian Ocean where he owns a luxury villa. He erased all his coordinates off his website for fear of being found and lynched.|
The rumours of my death were greatly exaggerated.
Here are about 620 examples of my photographic event coverage since 1984.
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