1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 Table of contents

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.
Will our photographer survive? Obviously, since I write this in 2016!

After 6 months of nightmares, and an endless money pit, I find myself homeless in Paris. Nicole leaves me. Cruise Picture Co Ltd goes bankrupt because of a major dispute between the two founders. I do not even have money the an airfare to USA or and apartment rental there. And I am a wreck.

Without a home, it is very difficult to find a job in Paris in 1993. I left France in 1980, so I do not know anybody any more.
It is impossible to make friends when you are jobless, with zero money in your bank account, no home, no car, no furniture, not even a girlfriend.
All my photo, computers, business, scuba, sailing, flying vocabulary is in English and I do not even know the words in French. I must sound like a fool. How do you tell a potential employer that you are a computer wizard if you cannot even say "hard disk" in French? I feel wrechted and at the end of my toll.
Without a previous French address and nobody for official financial backup, you cannot rent an apartment in France. The potential landlords also ask for your latest 3 rental, electricity and gas bills. I can only show US papers, which is Chinese to them.
See my full story, in English, further down the page.
Note: Francis Ronat, the chief diver of the failed expedition lends me his car for 2 weeks since he has found a job in Vietnam and his happy for my car-sitting. I use his car to get to the Ile de Ré lighthouse, very tall and without safety rail. I have led an adventurous life and it was my choice. So I face it like a man. If only I could have Googled E.... S.... in 1993 … Because of my stress, I lose my legendary eagle sharp eyesight but cannot afford glasses. Some say that medicine is free in France, this is false, not the glasses, which are very very expensive. I could not even solve 2nd degree equations. I was ready to jump, but at the last moment I realise that Francis would have a very hard time finding his car ….

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!



It was rough, real rough. Is this the end of our photographer? Obviously not, since I’m writing this in 2014! But hey, you’ve got to do it like Reality TV, add in suspense where there isn’t any to speak of.

TO THE ATTENTION OF CHRISTIAN FOURNIER
Ronco, September 15, 1993
Hello Christian,
In response to your message yesterday, I can confirm that, as far as I know, the project is continuing as planned.
The large ship "EUROTRI 1" is leaving Bergen today and will arrive in La Rochelle on Monday. So as we agreed you can send me your equipment.
As far as any ulterior purchases go (filmrolls, small colour lab, photo enlarger) I believe we had settled on about 15,000 francs, we will handle that once you've arrived in Paris.

October 15, 1993
PHOTO LAB PROJECT

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.
For reasons relating to storage, colour quality, grain and exposition, the minimum acceptable amount for the development E6 slides without investing in "pro" machines (which start at 50,000F at the cheapest) is the small Jobo CPE-2. It costs 4000F at Semelec, Avenue de l'Atlantique, Z.A. de Courtaboeuf, 91952 Les Ulis cdex, tel: 1 69 07 64 58 and can even be made available in under 4 days in La Rochelle at Shop Photo, 4 rue St. Sauveur, Tel: 46 41 75 86. The Jobo CPE-2 can develop E6 slides as well as Cibachrome papers, with low yield and lost baths. This way we could make good...

Photo lab project for Eric Surcouf, by Christian Fournier. Page 1

EUROTRI LTD.
Friday August 13, 1993
To Mr. Christian Fournier

Dear Sir,
I confirm having received your faxes and letters and I can reassure you that after your absence at our meeting this week: Erick already considers you as the photographer assigned to the Eurotri (which I wasn't completely sure of before).
If our program carries on as planned, we will leave from La Rochelle in early November to start the project on location at the start of January 94, so there won't be any interesting images to store before the end of October 93. Between now and then, we will be testing the detection systems on the prospecting vessel (14m) and installing the necessary amenities for the project on the larger ship (50m) which should arrive in La Rochelle on around the 5th or 6th of September. The smaller vessel is already operational in Royan.
The ULM should be a MIGNET HM 1000 BALERIT 64 ch. Two-seater (2 axe bi-plane 2 used by the army and civil security, on wheels and floats).
As for computer systems, there will be Mac and PC for file storage, logistics, schedules, etc... installed on the main boat. On the prospective boat, we will use a two-post base 486 PC with integrated GPS, magnetometry, probes for depth and fish. A dead reckoning tracer will allow us to check that we're on course in real time (as well as on the monitors) and we are having software developed that will allow us to take out all the day's information on two or three disks to determine which sites to explore by diving.
All loading will be done in La Rochelle, at the complete team will participate in the trip to get to know one another and learn how to work together before arriving on site. The prospecting boat will be loaded with supplies and take off either in Mayotto or Nacala on the North Shore of Mozambique which will be our base.
For your information, in case you've heard of him, the underwater and land videographer will most likely be Stephane Holden. He will be accompanied by a sound engineer and his role will be to store images for future use. So we will wait to hear from you in September 93.
Cordially and until soon,



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 multi-talented Raphaël Christian Fournier... and that is putting it mildly!
Specializing in underwater photography, he is also a reporter, taking photos of everything from art to sports, creating enchanting or even humoristic images. But that's not all, for this jack-of-all-trades is also a plane pilot, a deep-sea diver, a climber of glaciers... In short, this photographer will stop at nothing. Here we present his catch-all collection of underwater photography equipment.

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.
So his cabin is a true operational centre stuffed to the brim with terrestrial and underwater photography equipment as well as informatic and video tools. The quantity is impressive!
As an aerial photographer, Christian Fournier locates and photographs shipwrecks. As underwater photographer for expeditions on the Eurotri 1, he takes images for underwater cartography for the archeologists, for catalogues of discovered objects. His "general" images on underwater research and activity will be used on reports about Eurotri's missions. In addition, his onboard photos will be used in reportages and to document the expedition.
1 – Small pocket tripod (tripods aren’t very useful on a boat)
2 - US Diver Diving Mask (most of my diving equipment is stored elsewhere).
3 - MD-20 Motor for Nikon F4S.
4 - Nikon F4 (marked with red tape for easy identification) with 20 mm Nikkor lens.
5- Spare Air (extra cylinder in case of underwater emergency).
6 – Minolta III Flashmeter + 5° viewfinder.
7 – Nikon watertight box containing a lightproof black bag (to avoid accidents when changing film)
8 - Nikon F4 with Nikkor AF-D 28-70 mm f/3.3 – 4.5.
9 - Power User 210 mB external harddrive
10 - Nikkor AF DC 135 mm f/2.
11 - Nikonos V + Flash Nikon SB-102 (underwater) + Nissin PRO Flash + Quantum 2 battery + Nikonos Handgrips.
12 - Nikon AF-600.
13 - Nikon MF-23 Multi Control Back for F4.
14 – Photographer-diver-aviator-computer scientist
15 - Flash Nikon SB-102 (underwater) + Nikonos V with Nikkor UW 15 mm f/2.8 and DF-11 viewfinder and double Bracket for two SB 102/4 + double synch cable + Nikon SB-104 underwater flash.
16 – Lenses for Nikonos : lens from the Nikonos underwater macro kit + Nikkor UW 15 mm f/2.8 + DF-11 Viewfinder for the Nikkor UW 15 mm + Nikkor LW 28 mm f/2.8 (watertight lens for use on land) + DF-12 Viewfinder for the 20 and 28mm + Nikkor UW28 mm f/2.8 + Nikkor UW,X/35 mm f/3.5.
17 – Small Nikon SB-23 flash.
18 - Nikonos V with Nikkor UW 35 mm f/3.5 + Nikkor UW 35 mm f/3.5 + lens from the Nikonos underwater macro kit + Nikkor UW 20 mm f/2.8 + Nikkor UW 20 mm f 2.8 (everything has to be doubled for the stereophotogrammetry) + Nikon DF-12 Viewfinder for the 20 and 28 mm.
19- Small waterproof Pelican box for films and accessories.
20 – Waterproof compass
21- Waterproof Pelican 500 suitcase (containing, among other things, polarizing filters, skylight, etc…)
22 – Ikelite housing for SLR.
23 – Cabin porthole
24 - Nikkor AF 80-200 mm f/2.8.
25 - Apple Power CD (reads audio CDs, CD-ROMs and Photo CDs, plugged into the IV Hitachi 12, on computer 6 and the Boose speakers Boose 46 and 62).
26 – Very compact printer, the GCC Writemove II.
27 – Black Nikon FE for Ikelite housing, with Nikkor 24 mm f/2.8.
28 - Documents.
29 - Hitachi multistandard TV/VCR (NTSC, Pal, Secam).
30 - CD-ROM disks with databases (encyclopaedias, marine biology, medicine, etc.) and photos on Kodak Photo CDs.
31 – Dive light.
32 – Instructional videos (diving, computers, photography, videos, aviation)
33 – Dive computer.
34 – Documentation books (diving, computers, photos, videos, aviation).
35 - Mackintosh 180c Powerbook with Fax/modem.
36 – Lightbox for slides
37 – Compact waterproof Nikon AW AF AD.
38 – Nikon SD-8 external powersource, battery tester and various other tools.



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....
Catherine Procodine, tel 02 97 86 82 43. Was in charge of Public Relations for the Mauritius expedition : 6 months of unpaid work, she is ready to give her testimony of Surplouf’s dishonest practices. Thierry Le Borgne, from Plongespace (tel 01 45 57 01 01, 76 rue Balard 75015 Paris) is still waiting to be paid 50 000 F for scuba equipment loaned to Surplouf for the Mauritius expedition which was never returned. (you can read his certified testimony)
Béni Trutmann (15 rue Hegesippe Meaureau, Villa des arts, appt 1, 75018 PARIS FRANCE tel 01 42 93 55 61/01 42 55 95 16, fax : 01 42 55 95 16) was never paid for his work for Surplouf. Surplouf stole the photos from his own studio. Beni sued him and won in 1997. Beni was forced to resort to hiring a private detective to track down Surplouf, who had gone into hiding after the horrors of his Eurotri debacle.
Dominique Denoix, diver hired by S…… , who never received payment for his work.

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.
"This expedition is a scam," said the principal investor, Philippe Naveau, who lost his entire fortune to the project and died penniless. Surplouf knew from the start that the expedition would never happen (according to Philippe Naveau) but took the opportunity to make some big bucks for himself by procuring a big salary and other financial perks (earning commission on sophisticated equipment).
Philippe Naveau and his partner Danielle Juncqua lost 10 000 000 F (boat, salaries, decompression chamber, naval construction site, port fees, magnetometry equipement, etc…).Christian Fournier (tel 01 43 31 73 14, see his declaration) lost everything. He can give testimony to the looting of Eurotri by Thierry P…. and the death threats that he received from this person. Address at the time: Philippe Naveau/Danielle Juncqua : 1 rue du Mont D'Urville 75016 PARIS tel 01 47 23 50 06 / 01 47 23 50 30 fax 01 47 20 51 95 Other address : 6 rue d'artois, 75008 Paris 01 42 56 14 17

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
Legality is not Thierry P….’s strong point, and a year and a half of prison didn’t change his ways. When you intend to loot a shipwreck and you tell the Indian government that you’re doing aquaculture, you’re going to run into some problems. See the numerous press reports.

1999 : INDONESIA
An exact copy of Eurotri, this time with Antonia Goodland as the victim, Tel 04 93 43 67 97, La croix du sud, 114 La Croisette, 06400 Cannes, France. You can read her testimony. The Indonesian government, too, would like to get their hands on S…. because he posted a stolen photo of porcelain on a shipwreck which he has no rights to.

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…
Plongespace
Underwater Equipment
CERTIFICATION
Dear Sirs,
I have been called upon to report on some already long-past events in our company, yet I can still confirm some precise facts hereafter.
In 1990, Mr. Surcouf, representing Exploration Services, contacted me while setting up a research expedition for finding objects on a wreck off Mauritius.
We made an agreement for a partnership as follows:
- The company H20 CONCEPT provided, under conditions, the specific necessary underwater equipment. These were offered with a 20-35% reduction on normal prices or a symbolic lower margin of roughly 10%.
- The company H20 CONCEPT provided (taking advantage of a grace period with the company Scubapro) five complete scuba diving sets: cylinders, BCDs, regulators, manometres, fins, masks, snorkels, etc.. (for a total cost of about 25,000F before tax), on loan for six months.
- EXPLORATION SERVICE, as signed by Mr. Surcouf, agreed to promote Scubapro and Plongespace's logos through photos, captions, articles...
The loaned equipment was never returned. Unsellable equipment, small detached parts ordered verbally, were never picked up, and the price of five thousand francs was never settled. Neither has Plongespace's brand been promoted as had been agreed.
It seems desirable to me that such practices should not be allowed to exist any longer and that the truth be established about what seems to be, according to the words of many, the usual practices of Mr. Surcouf.
Paris, February 7, 1994. Certified sincere and truthful. I attest on the honour of the facts related above. I consent to the present testimony being used in the court of justice in the trial opposing Mr Beni Trutmann and Mr. Erik S….. I declare that I am aware that should this testimony prove false I could be fined for false testimony in a civil matter. Thierry LE BORGNE Président Directeur Général "Plongespace" 80 rue Balard 75015 PARIS Telephone : (1) 45 57 60 11- Télécopie : (1) 45 57 27 47

BENI TRUTMANN
On April 12, 1990, Béni Trutman was hired by ... to make a photo reportage on his archeological expedition off the island of Mauritius.
Beni Trutman never received the remuneration due to him for his work. The photos he took appeared, unbeknowst to him, in a number of publications ("Mensuel", "Ca m'intéresse", "Subaqua", Arthaud-Flamarion: "La mer en Héritage") without receiving a cent. Erik Surcouf claimed ownership of these photographs in these publications after having stolen the 440 best photographs chosen by Trutman in Trutman's home while he was out on March 17, 1991.
Beni Trutman took Erik Surcouf before the Paris Tribunal de Grande Instance.
Erik Surcouf was condemned on September 6 1994 to pay Beni Trutman the compensation and interests for breach of contract and infringement on both property law and the author's moral rights.
Erik Surcouf appealed on November 25 1994 and was again condemned by the Paris Appeals Court on January 15 1997 to pay Beni Trutman to the order of 80,000F.
Surcouf had of course during thist time, and after the debacle of his Eurotri-Mozambique archeological expedition, disappeared without a trace.
Beni Trutman resorted to hiring a private detective to locate Surcouf and allow bailiffs to recover what he was owed.
Béni Trutman :15 rue Hegesippe Meaureau, Villa des arts, appt 1, 75018 PARIS FRANCE tel 01 42 93 55 61/01 42 55 95 16, fax : 01 42 55 95 16 ---


CHRISTIAN FOURNIER
14 square de Port Royal, 75013 PARIS Tel : 01 43 31 73 14 Tel portable 06 60 94 33 80 Email : paris75@prisedevue.photos 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.
I bought 2 years earlier a large property in Canada, near Vancouver and spent a lot of money transforming it into a very promising photo business: The Studio In The Woods, in Maple Ridge. I still have to pay the monthly mortgage. My girlfriend does not like my too frequent travelling.
In February 1993, I receive a fax from E.... S…., as manager of Eurotri, a brad new underwater archeological company. I did not know then that this was only one of the previous many others that E.... S…. bankrupted. This fax stated that E.... S…. had signed a contract with the government of Mozambic, and as agreed since 1986 (at this epoque E.... S…. was my French agent for the sales of my underwater photography), asked me to work and invest on his expedition for 3 years. E.... S…. was very enthusiastic and convincing. Many faxes are exchanged between myself, E.... S…., and T****** P*****, the chief archeologist. My position is secured verbally and via faxes. But no official legal contract is signed. Major mistake on my part. I am still young and enthousiastic. I then stop my search for new assignments and concentrate on getting ready for the expedition.

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!
Since I did not work in France I cannot get social security. I contact all the French scuba magazines (Apnéa, Océans, Le Monde de la Mer, etc.) and possible employers, in vain. My age (40 yo) is an obstacle to employment. Freelance photographers in France are hired nearly exclusively by word of mouth. I contact E.... S…… for help. He says: "my problems are ridiculous compared to his."
I went from editorial free lance photographer, living comfortably in the USA, with plenty of jobs on my agenda, to homeless in Paris, within 9 months.

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……

Christian Fournier

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…….
Dupuy is a 'hard-sell' insurance salesman, tough, a persuasive ‘fast-talker' and difficult to resist. They had compiled an attractive, glossy brochure on the project in both French and English and an impressive 'dossier' of about 110 pages. E…. S...... had recently privately published a book and gave me a signed copy.

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.
They weren't asking for a great deal of money at that stage - FF 390,000 - which even at the time I thought sounded like not nearly enough to launch an operation of that nature. But I was assured that it was enough with careful budgeting.

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.
Great excitement!

The project for Madagascar was postponed - put temporarily on the ‘back burner'. Indonesia was going to be IT - a sort of easy get rich quick operation - we couldn't miss!
They estimated that they needed FF 1.000.000 to launch a project in Indonesia.


"Antonia are you in with us on this one?"
This, I must admit, made me rather nervous as I only had my life savings to live on and that was accounting for nearly half! But, I am a serious collector of antique Chinese Porcelain and was rather carried away by the prospect of finding shiploads of it!
Once again I weakened and made out the cheque on the spot.

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!)

Shortly after their arrival, they struck trouble in Bintan. They said that they had come up against the Chinese Mafia. They ran scared to Singapore - abandoning boat and equipment in Bintan, only taking with them the GPS, the underwater camera, P.....'s reference books and one or two other things easily carried.

Here the story becomes very long and complicated - far too long to tell here.
In brief, they eventually flew back to Jakarta and after an incredible ballet of manoeuvring of team, boat and equipment, they finally managed to get all the elements together in one place in Jakarta.
This all took on the character of a farce - and might have even be considered to be very funny - except that it was extremely costly and I was paying for it all.

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!
Then, following this example, one of the young divers got involved with an Indonesian girl of his own (another real disaster which resulted in heavy expenses for the redecoration of a hotel room which she devastated in a jealous rage).

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.
Also worrying was his never showing up for breakfast each day before 10 in the morning or later. Not exactly the sort of example to his team that one would expect of the expedition leader. If they all slept in each day ......... imagine!

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!
During week seven, several token dives were made in the environs of the island but by now it was far too late!

Week eight saw the official end of the research stage and the end of my contractual participation.
The young divers, their contracts ended too, left Indonesia for France - disgusted and upset with the whole scenario. They took some diving equipment with them and the underwater camera because S...... hadn't paid their salaries! There was no more money! It was ALL gone. In less than 2 months ALL the money was gone INCLUDING the money which I had invested with him for the 'Soleil d'Orient'.

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.)
The Indonesians had a nice little scam going whereby they sold and resold salvage permits to shipwreck sites for vast sums of money to 'all-comers' and were laughing all the way to the bank! S...... fell right into that trap. It is my opinion that it was S...... 's primary responsibility to verify these sites and their legitimacy. If I was able to do it extremely easily AFTER the event, he, of all people, should have been able to do it before.

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.
These debts had to be settled before they could continue to operate there.
This fresh input of money was for the most part immediately swallowed up in paying these past debts.

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 was also questioning the whereabouts of the GPS, the replacement underwater camera, plus other specialised material which was unaccounted for and for which I had paid. This was also ignored.

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,
Antonia Goodland."

It would be a good idea if you keep this update in your files.
Could you send me a draft of a covering letter to the procurateur.

Warm regards,
Antonia Goodland.


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!
Hello Christian, I’ve just finished reading your long but riveting tale on Mr. Erik S….. . Incredible, I know you had already told me some of it, but my heart sank as I read your text. If you weren’t a photographer you could have become an author, because your – unfortunately true – tale is impossible to put down. You’ve come a long way, it seems. Now it is in the past and you’ve bounced back. See you soon. Your friend, Pascal.

So it has all come to an end : aviation, glaciers, sailing, horse-riding, the Studio in the Woods, California, Nicole and all the rest.
One of the only things I have left : painting on slides. Erick S…. I dedicate this one to you.



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.

*************************

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