When I arrived, Boris was standing there. After he answered the call, he explained that a friend was willing to meet us, but considered the fountain too exposed a venue. Crossing the Seine on foot, we entered the narrow streets of the Marais. I got in the back of the Honda, which smelled like sweat and old clothes. The man at the wheel was huge and unshaven. Speaking in a mixture of French and English, he told me that he worked as a bodyguard for a variety of clients—French singers, wealthy Americans, Serbs in need of protection. We arrived at a quiet Serbian bar near the cemetery, and settled in for the evening.
I was told that later we might visit an elder of the Serbian crime scene in Paris. While we waited, a lot of alcohol was consumed. At one point, the bodyguard told me that there were fewer than sixty Panthers, without saying exactly how he came by such specialized knowledge. I noticed that everyone in the bar treated the bodyguard as if he were someone important. I asked him whether Predrag Vujosevic, of the Graff heist, ran the Panthers. There is no leader, he answered.
Inside the stall, I scribbled notes on a scrap of paper. When I returned, the atmosphere around the table had changed. The meeting with the crime boss had been cancelled. If I wanted to learn more, the bodyguard told me, I should go to Serbia. At night in Belgrade, the lights still flicker on and off. The city is clean but poor, its streets virtually bare of video-screen billboards and other markers of information-age capitalism. In the city center, the old Defense Ministry lies in ruins, one of many piles of rubble from the NATO bombings which no one has bothered to clean up.
I visited the city last August, staying in a Yugoslav-era hotel room that smelled like cooking gas and sour carpet. He arrived bleary-eyed, after an all-night shift as the chief of security at a casino. It was honorable work, he explained, especially when compared with his job on the Belgrade police force. He had left the force, he said, because the criminal charges he filed were regularly torn up by his commanding officers, who received bags of cash from gang members.
Individual officers had price lists for their services. The business cards of high-ranking drug-enforcement officers were routinely found in the wallets of arrested drug dealers. While the rest of the Balkans endured mass killings and ethnic cleansing directed by the government of Slobodan Milosevic, ordinary Serbs saw their society destroyed through a campaign of economic manipulation.
In , the Serbian government established de-facto monopolies on the sale of wheat, corn, flour, sugar, and cooking oil. By January, , when the Bosnian war was at its height, Serbia had experienced hyperinflation for twenty-four months. The monthly rate of inflation was ,, per cent. By comparison, the infamous hyperinflation that beset Germany in the Weimar years and helped bring Hitler to power lasted for sixteen months and reached a comparatively modest 32, per cent.
Extended hyperinflation helped Milosevic cement his power over a population that found itself unable to buy basic necessities without resorting to the black market, which was controlled by criminals and directed by the state. The hunger induced by hyperinflation led ordinary Serbs to draw out foreign currency from pillowcases and bank accounts.
Meanwhile, Milosevic set up a parallel banking system, funded by worthless bills printed on state presses. On the street, these bills were instantly exchanged for Deutsche marks, dollars, and other forms of legal tender through teams of street-level money changers, who funnelled the proceeds to private savings institutions and six state-run banks. Many currency dealers worked directly for the state, in a vast system of theft organized by the Serbian government.
Once the Serbian state had transformed itself into a criminal enterprise, many Serbs turned themselves, willingly or reluctantly, into criminals. Later that day, I met Milos Vasic, who joined the Belgrade police force in After two years as a cop, he became a reporter. One of the founders of Vreme , he often writes about organized crime. Even more lucrative was the trade in cigarettes, Vasic said. By , cigarettes, which were subject to excise taxes, had become so expensive in Serbia that legal sales effectively vanished. The black market offered consumers a cheaper alternative, but one that was still highly profitable for the seller.
Vasic described how the scheme worked. A Serbian dealer purchased cigarettes wholesale in Western Europe, for a few cents a pack. The cigarettes were then sold for about three dollars a pack, with the government and its gangster friends pocketing the profits. Western governments were complicit in the Serbian corruption. I recently communicated with a former British Royal Marine who had served in the Balkans. The marine often visited the city of Nis, and he said that his superiors regularly provided him with a thousand dollars to elicit intelligence from local Serbs.
A decaying industrial city, Nis was strategically important for its proximity to Kosovo and to the main smuggling route connecting Serbia to Asia Minor and Western Europe. The marine, who had participated in peacekeeping operations in Bosnia, said that he accompanied NATO officers to several meetings with Serbian officials in Nis and other cities. NATO commanders, he claimed, regularly traded information about the disposition of secessionist forces inside Kosovo; in return, the Serbs asked NATO to overlook shipments of fuel oil and other commodities whose importation violated Western sanctions.
Some of those requests were formal, he said; others involved cash changing hands at much lower levels of authority. Many of the men he trained did not strike him as normal soldiers. The man eventually left the Royal Marines and got a job as a bodyguard at a luxury hotel in Paris. One night, he claimed, he went out drinking and ran into some of the Serbs he had traded war stories and tactical advice with in Nis. The Serbs told him that they were now in the business of robbing jewelry stores.
They seemed serious—sober, even—and the improvement in their appearance and demeanor was striking. A few years later, the man said, he was living in London, when he got a call from two of the Serbs. They went out drinking again. Two of the people involved in the robbery contacted him, and stayed with him before they fled the country. In exchange for his hospitality, they gave him a diamond brooch, which he offered to a jeweller in Brighton, through a middleman.
The jeweller has declined repeated requests for an interview. To better understand how young men from the south of Serbia might find their way to luxury shopping districts in Tokyo and Dubai, I decided to drive to Nis. The Nis faction was, apparently, the most foolhardy: many of its first generation of operatives are currently imprisoned in Western Europe. I arrived in Nis midmorning. The highway leading into town was empty, and lined with stores selling motorbikes and diet supplements. Nis was wilder, and had more of an ethnic mix: Albanians, Macedonians, Gypsies.
On the uneven sidewalks, girls in heavy makeup tottered along in high heels, their loutish boyfriends following closely behind. Across the Nisava River were the decaying apartment blocks where Serbian snipers had once practiced with the former Royal Marine. The buildings, fifteen stories high, were concrete slabs daubed with soccer graffiti and nationalist slogans. Groups of young men drank beer in the street. A brand-new Audi was parked nearby. Audis are favored by young Serbian gangsters, which may explain the rented cars in the video of the Dubai heist.
The Hope Diamond Trilogy Series
Men between the ages of twenty-five and forty-five appeared to be missing from the city. Aside from the motorcycle-repair shops, the busiest places in town were the slot-machine parlors. The mayor, Milos Simonovic, is a bright-eyed thirty-six-year-old. He grew up in Nis, which used to be the center of the electronics and engineering industries in Yugoslavia, employing thirty thousand engineers and skilled manufacturing workers.
Now, out of a total population of three hundred thousand, thirty-three thousand adults in Nis are unemployed. The anchor of the local economy is a cigarette plant. Drug smuggling is also popular. Many younger citizens of Nis, having watched their parents lose their jobs, and growing up in an atmosphere of wholesale corruption, have embraced the idea of going to Western Europe and becoming thieves. Then you get back here and you have cars, you have buildings and other things.
Zoran Zivkovic, who is forty-nine, was the mayor of Nis under Milosevic, as well as a leader of the opposition movement that eventually toppled the regime. Nearly four thousand suspects were charged with criminal activity, and tens of thousands of weapons were seized, along with hundreds of kilos of explosives. I met with Zivkovic, who is now a businessman, in his clean, modern office, where bottles of wine from a vineyard that he owns were on display.
He wore a navy-blue blazer and had a burnished complexion, looking less like a politician than like a Mediterranean yachtsman who had somehow got marooned in the middle of Serbia. For years, he said, criminal clans in Serbia had their own police officers, lawyers, judges, doctors, journalists, and financial advisers. Other police sources in Nis provided me with tantalizing new information about the Panthers.
I learned that Milan Ljepoja, the Panther member who was arrested in the Gex schoolyard, had returned to Nis, his home town, after the Dubai robbery, and spent some of his money. A few months before the Dubai heist, the friend moved to Dubai and opened a new cell-phone shop. The Dubai police took notice of this curious timing. Examining business records, they determined that right after the robbery large amounts of money began flowing through the Serbian-owned shop.
According to the Nis investigators, the friend is now in jail in Dubai. The police headquarters in Nis is at the end of a tree-lined street where young men promenade in an informal uniform of Porsche sunglasses, white T-shirts, and black sweatpants. One such man had protruding from his waistband the butt of a Makarov pistol—the standard sidearm of the countries of the former Soviet bloc—but nobody seemed to mind. When I visited, the police chief was Zoran Stojanovic, who sat at his desk with a stack of photos that he had prepared for my visit. He had large, gnarled features and wore a socialist gray suit.
He initially declined to talk to me about the Pink Panthers. Bloody cadavers filled with shrapnel had been stretched out before a camera. There was a photograph of Zivorad and Vera Ilic, an elderly couple, who died on May 7, , from a cluster-bomb attack, which mutilated their bodies. Coffee and orange juice were served. Now that I had seen the photos and listened to his lecture, he was happy to talk about criminals in his city. But our conversation would be short, he added, because there were no criminals in Nis. When I asked him about some young men I had seen outside his police station, holding the keys to new Audis, he told me that they were entrepreneurs.
I asked him whether it was normal for entrepreneurs in Nis to carry Makarov pistols in their sweatpants. He shook his head amiably. He frowned. Stojanovic eventually allowed that some citizens of Nis had gone to live in Western Europe and worked as thieves. They made new contacts in the underworld and improved their material standing.
Some of these criminals returned to Nis, where they attracted attention by driving luxury cars and wearing expensive clothing. Though these people may have broken laws in the West, he said, in Nis they were simply spending money and enjoying themselves. In this way, they had become role models for other young people.
He thumbed through the police records of men who had been identified as Panthers by Interpol. Not even taking cars, but stealing things from inside the car. He abruptly changed the subject. The Jew was poor and had nothing to eat, so he went to a peasant and asked him if he might borrow an egg. The heist, which took place on March 5, , was the greatest robbery in the history of Japan.
The boutique, which was called Le Supre-Diamant Couture de Maki, was in the Ginza district, and was owned by a company rumored to be experiencing financial difficulties. Sitting with her was Dorothy Fasola, a Scottish woman who had been convicted in Italy for stealing gold. Rasovic and Radulovic fled on motorbikes. That day, two of the thieves took an Air France flight to Paris; the two others left the country shortly thereafter. Following the theft, the Tokyo police reconstructed the crime, enlisting the help of more than a hundred investigators. The resulting dossier is filled with the kind of precise, illuminating detail found in great crime fiction.
While the Japanese police refused to give me the dossier, they did make copies available at the Pink Panther working-group conference, in Monaco. Several detectives who saw it told me that the Tokyo dossier was a masterpiece of police work. Some of them allowed me to see English-language versions and take notes.
As impressive as it is, the Japanese dossier raises as many questions as it answers about who the Panthers are, how they work, and who is protecting them. The gang members arrived in Japan toward the end of February, They travelled on valid passports. Dorothy Fasola arrived in Tokyo first, made hotel reservations for the group, and bought four cell phones: gold-colored ones for Radulovic and Rasovic; a light-red one for Panajotovic; a blue one for herself.
Fasola has denied involvement in the crime. Snezana Panajotovic flew into Tokyo, also travelling as a Czech citizen. Aleksandar Radulovic also went to Tokyo, using a Croatian passport. A Japanese forensics team later found his fingerprints on a sample-size bottle of Wella shampoo. Radulovic visited the Maki boutique for the first time on February 24th.
He expressed enthusiasm for it, and made a point of photographing the necklace. Several days later, he visited the store again, with Panajotovic. The pair, acting like lovers, bought a necklace and a silver spoon. On March 5th, at A. Radulovic was wearing a beige coat and brown leather gloves; he carried a bag bearing the Cartier logo, and had disguised himself with a light-brown wig and sunglasses.
Rasovic wore dark clothes and a shoulder-length wig. As he approached the cabinet housing the necklace, Radulovic took out a piece of paper—the surveillance tape records that the gesture occurred at Takagi tilted his head down, to see what his customer was writing. Radulovic punched Takagi and squirted pepper spray into his eyes. When I pulled myself together and washed my eyes, I called the police on my cell phone. Aleksandar Radulovic is now in prison in Serbia, having been arrested in Copenhagen, for attempted robbery.
Danish police had identified Radulovic as one of the Panthers wanted in the Tokyo heist and shipped him back to Belgrade to be tried. Radulovic compared the necklace to the work of Dali and Chagall, and wondered why it had been kept in an ordinary glass cabinet. Company executives did not respond to my inquiries.
Dorothy Fasola, using her blue phone, made frequent calls to Italy while in Tokyo. She and Radulovic also called a phone number in Colombo, Sri Lanka, a place where neither had any prior connection. Police sources told me that a Montenegrin Serb named Zdravko Radonjic was visiting Colombo when the calls were placed from Tokyo—a notable coincidence, they observed, given that Radonjic had previously been involved in robbing jewelry stores in Japan. Two years after the Tokyo heist, Radonjic was arrested at the Belgrade airport, carrying a false passport and a one-way ticket to Beirut.
While Radonjic was incarcerated, he remained in communication with the outside world. According to a Serbian newspaper, a prison guard was charged last year with delivering two mobile phones to Radonjic, in return for a thousand-dollar bribe. Radonjic was recently released from prison. Lidija Radulovic is tall, with a curved nose and long brown hair. I met her for lunch in Belgrade. She met Aleksandar Radulovic, of the Tokyo heist, at a party in Belgrade twelve years ago. They began dating, and soon married. Early on in the relationship, he became a thief. The fun always came first. Radulovic had a sister in Munich, and he and Lidija liked to travel abroad—to Antwerp, the Greek islands.
Radulovic was in France when the call came for the Tokyo job. The man who called, she claimed, was from the jewelry store itself. Japanese police investigators, she claimed, had refused to supply basic information, such as the amount paid by the insurance company to the jeweller. The implication was that a small crime was being used to cover up a larger crime.
Lidija said that her husband was very clever, even though he lacked a formal education. I had wanted to talk to Radulovic, but arranging a visit proved difficult, as he had not been a model prisoner: he had tried to escape while being transported from the Belgrade airport to jail. Through Lidija, he answered questions about his life. He had become an apprentice thief, he said, after leaving Serbia for Germany, in the late nineties.
While you are young, adrenaline is a good hook. But they were not particularly close. Radulovic said that he was a voracious reader. From the ancient world and alchemy to sci-fi! I made some choices for my own reasons, but it is absolutely unacceptable to let some kids out there identify with such a story. Milutin Dacovic, known to his friends as Daca, is a retired criminal. These days, he can usually be found in the back of an Italian restaurant that he owns, in Belgrade.
He built the restaurant with the proceeds of his career as a thief in Italy. During those years, he was the trusted companion of the legendary Serbian gangster Ljuba. Together, Daca and Ljuba helped open up Italy to criminals from the Balkans. Born and raised in Belgrade, Daca is a partisan of his city, particularly of its old traditions.
As we spoke, he sometimes tugged at the crotch of his trousers, forgetting that a woman was present. He is the only Serb I have met who speaks with a full array of Roman inflections, grimaces, and hand gestures. He recalled that when Markovic disappeared he made inquiries among Corsican gangsters. Daca is no longer enamored of Markovic and his circle. For emphasis, he squirted some ketchup on his left hand, then licked it off. On the back of that hand was a tattoo of a rose. His body was covered in tattoos.
He estimated that his original group of five members grew to include a hundred or so criminals, all from Belgrade. When I asked him how many of them were still alive, he said four or five, at most, miming the gestures for shooting up heroin, sniffing cocaine, and firing a gun. Members of the Panthers occasionally visit his restaurant.
The person who distracted the security guard was a zavodnik , or seducer, and the muscle was the magare , or donkey. The person who arranged logistics was a jatak —a term that originally referred to Serbs who sheltered rebels against Ottoman rule. A crooked jeweller who bought stolen stones was a sisa , or tit. He said that he lived in Denmark, and worked in Holland, Switzerland, and France.
He spoke with Daca in shorthand, but it was clear that their conversation touched on Italy. The man said that there was no central organization of thieves in Belgrade. He told me that the Tokyo heist cost about a hundred thousand dollars. The organizing syndicate, Daca said, determined who got to hold the goods, and where the money went. The man from Denmark looked nervous, but Daca calmed him down. Panther groups, Daca went on, are based outside Serbia. Panthers who got arrested, he said, were often turned in by their employers, as a way of trimming the workforce, or keeping the heat from the police at manageable levels.
The higher ranks of the Panther organization, Daca said, included a number of Serbian ex-soldiers who were currently living in Scandinavian countries. But the diamond trafficking was directed mainly by criminals from Italy, Russia, Israel, and Holland. Ljubica Vujosevic lives in a crumbling apartment block in Bijela, the Montenegrin fishing village. The building is near a rusting shipyard that provided a poor but steady living for local men during the era of Josip Broz Tito, the Communist dictator of Yugoslavia. When I visited Ljubica, a burned-out light bulb hung in the dark concrete hallway outside her door.
Ljubica is the mother of Predrag Vujosevic, the Panther who carried off a bag of diamonds from the Graff store in London. In her early fifties, she has had operations on both hips and on her kidneys. Her eyes are sea blue, and her face was once beautiful, but it is now heavily lined. Her outfit suggested that she had started to dress for the occasion, in a pretty green argyle short-sleeved shirt and a gold necklace, but then gave up, throwing on a pair of gray sweatpants and house slippers.
I sat at her kitchen table while she paced for two hours in front of a bookshelf that holds her keepsakes. There was a horse made of gold wire, a bottle of sparkling wine, and three painted monkeys that pantomimed a creed that is common to mothers and thieves alike: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. When Vujosevic was small, they lived up in the hills, and walked for an hour into town to buy groceries.
He loved soccer, but spent his days lifting weights and exercising, keeping track of how much he lifted and how far he ran. He washed his sneakers and ironed his shirts, and cleaned under his bed without being asked. Then he began spending nights away from home, usually in Cetinje. Ljubica and her husband, who worked in the shipyard, tried to prevent their son from leaving Bijela, but he told them he wanted to earn a real living. Things are getting better. The calls were usually very short, and often sounded as though they were coming from the street.
I am healthy. After Vujosevic was arrested on the French-Italian border, in , his parents learned the news from the parents of his girlfriend. Vujosevic was tried in Paris, for crimes that he committed in France. In the courtroom, Vujosevic said that there were people above him who gave orders, but he never mentioned their names.
I am too far away. Eternal glory for you, from your son, who loves you very much. Last year, Ljubica went to visit her son in jail; he had been refusing to eat, and was perilously thin. Since that visit, she said, she had spoken to him on the phone once every two months, for fifteen minutes at a time. Her cell phone remained silent. After a time, I got up to leave. She promised that when Vujosevic called she would ask him the names of the men who had received the diamonds. Montenegro is a beautiful, forbidding country of six hundred thousand people.
It shares borders with Serbia, Albania, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, making it one of the leading centers for smuggling in the Balkans. Along the coast, its high mountains plunge, like a stage curtain, down to the Adriatic Sea. The climate is almost tropical, with kiwi and lemon trees growing by the side of the roads.
The country looks like a movie-set version of the South of France, except that most of the beaches are two feet wide and covered in cement. As I drove along the coast toward Podgorica, the capital, the car radio began emitting an awful droning sound—the traditional one-stringed bowed instrument known as the gusle. Traditional songs employing the instrument praise the manhood, honesty, and bravery displayed by Serbs who fought the Turks; more recent songs are dedicated to Radovan Karadzic and other Serbian criminals, who are praised for their heroism during and after the Bosnian wars.
The Montenegrins boast that no other country has conquered them, overlooking the fact that their rocky soil would hardly have been worth the trouble. Now their land is more valuable: wealthy Russians have begun buying vacation homes here. In Montenegro, banditry may be even more deeply entrenched than it is in Serbia. According to a report issued in by the D. Its tone is damning. He was personally aware of the huge amount of money, in hard currency, drawn from illicit tobacco trafficking by Italian organized crime. His greed for riches made him so unprincipled that he came to resemble his criminal associates.
He went so far as to assure protection to fugitives wanted in Italy, disregarding the most basic legal norms. He did so through the state security apparatus. Once in Italy, the cigarettes were sold by Mafia syndicates, and the profits were laundered through front companies with bank accounts in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Cyprus. Entering Podgorica, I drove past a series of anti-corruption billboards that the government has erected, in an Orwellian gesture. The men had tattoos on their arms, and the women were disconcertingly tall. The city had energetic night life.
Dance clubs stayed open until four in the morning, and the amount of wealth on display was striking, given that the only people who seemed to be working were waiters, along with old women selling melons by the road. One evening, I visited the Podgorica police headquarters. The parking lot was empty except for two bored guards and an Interpol night-duty officer, who, after a week of phone calls, had agreed to see me when nobody else was in the building.
He ushered me into a half-empty office with a fax machine, then excused himself, returning with glasses of syrupy orange juice. Our conversation was interrupted every five minutes by the hum of the fax machine. When the transmission was complete, the duty officer lifted the paper out of the machine, and placed it face down on top of his desk.
Looking through the backs of the paper, I could see photocopies of passports from all over Europe. I asked him about Vladimir Lekic, a thirty-four-year-old reputed Panther, who had recently been arrested in his home town of Cetinje. I asked why the arrest had taken so long.
The sudden arrest of a semi-retired Panther for a six-year-old crime seemed peculiar. Then I recalled an earlier meeting with representatives of the Interior Ministry. They had shown me a black binder containing the two thousand questions that Montenegro must answer as part of the process for admission to the European Union. After a few days in Podgorica, I headed off into the mountains, toward Cetinje.
One-lane roads curled around shattered white boulders and tenacious green foliage that reminded me of the Judean hills. Insect life was so loud that when you parked the car and got out it sounded as if you had suddenly tuned into a radio frequency from another planet. Cetinje is in a valley between green mountains and the Adriatic Sea. Founded in the fifteenth century, it is the historic center of Montenegro. It is also home to approximately half the Pink Panthers who have been arrested in Western Europe.
Across from the town hall, a weathered nineteenth-century structure, was a new shop, called Mega Market. It was owned by Cedo Jovetic, the father of Milan Jovetic, the Montenegrin who handled the logistics for the Graff robbery. Cedo, a gruff man in his seventies, was at his home, near the store. He was not interested in talking with a foreign reporter about the Panthers or about the current whereabouts of his son. I headed to the town hall of the most notorious nest of thieves in the Balkans.
It was guarded by a double-headed royal eagle with a lion emblazoned on its shield. I walked up the central staircase and down a long hallway. Mayor Milovan Jankovic greeted me in his office. Sixty-four years old, he was wearing a blue shirt and a black jacket. His large nose was matched by elephantine ears and big bags under his eyes, which combined to give his face the mournful aspect of a Balkan Lyndon Johnson. Before he became mayor, he had worked as an anesthesiologist and as the secretary-general of the Red Cross in Serbia and Montenegro. W-we've been expecting you, baroness.
And how is the baron? Oh, he's quite well, thank you. I only hope he doesn't keep us waiting too long. Oh, look -- all of the dear, little jewels going virtuously to bed for papa. Their papa prefers them less virtuous. There's no profit in sleeping at home. I must remember that. Oh, come, madame.
Thank you, Leopold. You may go. I'll lock up. Thank you, sir. Good night, baroness, madame, your excellency. Marianne, I can hardly wait. Oh, Teri, compose yourself. There should be music. The famous excelsior diamond. Oh, it's ducky, isn't it? It's too beautiful. The new setting pleases you? What perfection!
Such brilliancy, such depth. There's something of the infinite in it. I would think so, too, if you'd only let me see it. Just look at it. Please, please, please, please. Really, Teri, you must tell me your secret. What wouldn't a woman do for such a treasure? Oh, anything. I'd deceive my husband, with pleasure. A woman would do much more than that. She would tolerate her husband. A dozen. Oh, take it away quickly, or I'll swallow it!
What is the price now? Do you know what I object to most? Her own husband is buying it for her. Imagine getting hold of a prize like that in such a respectable fashion. Oh, it's disgraceful. Her own husband! And here he is! I'm sorry I'm late, but I met our distinguished undersecretary of state walking along in distracted fashion in front of Palheim's, so I brought him along with me.
Hardly the thing for a cabinet officer. Ah, my darling, I Ah, here it is.
Well, it's not as large as I expected it to be. Not as large? What on earth did you expect, Franz -- - the rock of Gibraltar? He won't buy it. It's all over. Oh, Andre, quickly, tell him what a fine stone it is! It's a friend of year standing. But I couldn't let it go for less. Well, you know your own business best.
Not going to buy it? Oh, you're missing a great bargain. Let me get you the expert's appraisal. In the original bill from Louis Toone from Amsterdam, you will see exactly what it cost me. I'll be back in a moment. Teri, I despair of ever making a businesswoman of you. You're going to buy it! But not at his price. He'll take less. Now, it's silly to be sentimental.
If our positions were reversed, he'd drive the hardest bargain he could. You use what weapons you can to get money -- against a rich man, a revolver Against a poor one, his poverty. Am I right, Paul? Of course. We diplomats, too, are only effective when we have power and use it. How much are you willing to pay? Good night. You going already? I've served my purpose. I hope this new acquisition brings you a woman's most cherished need -- a new thrill. Oh, Andre. Goodbye, Teri. I had trouble finding the bill.
Here it is, in black and white. From Louis Toone in Amsterdam -- in black and white, yes, yes. Let's go into the office. You stay. Why didn't you meet me at Palheim's for tea? I forgot. I'm sorry. You're a coquette. But with you, I've been strangely honest. The moment I realized that I'd made a mistake, that you weren't a dream hero -- I have 12 war medals for bravery. And haven't I seen them, over and over? I say, as soon as I realized -- there was some disappointment on my side, too.
Well, then, how easy it should be for us to say goodbye. I'm not a schoolboy that you can throw over with a gesture. What is the right way to throw you over? I'm not going to be thrown over at all. I'm going to marry you. You know my husband, I believe. Of course, Teri, but when as fine a woman as you -- I'm not a fine woman. In my own eyes, I'm shallow and weak. Because I go on leading a shallow and weak life. Whereas with a little courage, I could break away from it. I have all the qualities to make quite a decent person.
And what have I done with them? I fly about all day, pursuing furs, jewels, excitement. I don't love. I don't even suffer -- that is, anything except boredom. In the morning, a cocktail, in the afternoon, a man, in the evening, veronal. That, my dear minister of state, is my picture of your Teri. Is it too high? What on earth? I took stock of myself when I decided to break with you. What you've just said convinces me more than ever that you need me as a husband.
Oh, Paul. Congratulations, madame. I accepted his offer. And here it is. By all means. Anything I can do for you? I'm sorry to intrude at this late hour. Oh, its perfectly all right. Well, then, will you kindly put up your hands? All of you. I'll shoot anyone who moves. Proceed, gentlemen. Never mind the lady. I think I'm going to faint. There's no reason why you should, madame. You're really very safe here. Wha-- oh, wh-what are you and your men doing? With your permission, Mr.
Hollander, we're robbing your shop. Uh, gentlemen, will you be seated, please? I prefer to stand. I won't attack you. That's reassuring, but I'd rather you were seated. I don't like strangers looking over my shoulder. I wish they'd pass a rule like that at my bridge club. Something should be done. I am unfamiliar with the procedure under the circumstances. Don't forget you're handling our property now.
That's right, sir! I was forgetting! Do be a bit careful, won't you? Don't bother to look after the police. My chauffeur will attend to that for you. Oh, by the way, Mr. Hollander, are you insured? Well, then, why look so tragic? Be happy that, in these unspeakably bad times, I'm turning your merchandise into cash for you. But I have so many old pieces. I'll never be able to assemble such a stock again. Subtle bit of business. That's old-fashioned. Can't you do something to liven up our little party, baroness Horhenfels?
You know me? I know all the people who own unusual jewelry -- one of the elementary requirements of my trade. Won't you chat, please? Yes, chat -- uh, airy nothings.
Can't you smile a little? You look so charming when you smile. This is a joke, isn't it? You're not really a thief. That's an ugly word. Uh, let's say "robber. Well, there's more flavor to "robber. In robbing a place of this sort, one must have a drawing-room technique. And this, I find, always helps to make the atmosphere more congenial.
And nothing like music to keep people from doing rash things in a moment like this. Now, may I disturb you a moment? Oh, isn't that beautiful? South Africa or Sumatra? Cut by Schindhelm in Amsterdam. You have exquisite taste, Mr. That's why I'm paying you this visit. You're just a common thief. I've seen you somewhere before.
What are your clubs? It was at some polo game. Now, at what polo game have I been where there was a robbery? My dear minister, if it was at a polo match, I was playing. Uh, will please say, "ah"? Say, uh, "ninety-nine. That's a very becoming dress you're wearing. I'm not sure I wouldn't like you better in blue -- a deep, lovely blue.
It would just match your eyes. Has everyone ever told you that your eyes are like sapphires? Apparently, conversation doesn't interfere with your work. No, not at all. On the contrary, it calms. It dissipates all fear. Notice how calm you've all become. Terror has vanished from the scene of the robbery. All quiet, sir. The girls are doing beautifully -- not a policeman within 10 blocks. Splendid, splendid. Whenever we stage an event of this kind, we always place a very alluring blonde on each corner.
So we never have to worry about the police. Effective, don't you think? This is becoming delightful. The lady is pleased? I am glad. He doesn't need your encouragement. But it helps. Oh, you must admit the situation's unusual. And the operation practically painless. You see now the advantage of suiting the method to the place? The customary technique of terrorism would certainly not have amused you. As it is, the lady has smiled, the gentlemen are at ease, and we shall even have time to take a lot of the gold and silver.
That's very accommodating. I'm learning a lot from you. Now, that's a real tribute. That's the first time I've ever known my husband to admit that he could learn anything from anybody. He's going to learn something from me someday. I wouldn't provoke him, Paul. He doesn't get a chance to shoot a cabinet minister every day. He's comparatively safe. I do very little shooting these days. As a matter of fact, I'm opposed to the American school of banditry.
I studied in Paris. You have to work harder, but you do acquire a certain finesse that is missing from the "stick 'em up and shoot them down" school. And note this, too -- no mess, no confusion. A new stock can be moved in tomorrow. No bankruptcy lawyer ever cleared out a place more tidily. For which I must thank you all. You have cooperated beautifully. Protective agency coming, sir. Thank heavens. Sit down. It's marvelous how you respond to suggestion. When the watchman enters, just talk to him calmly and leisurely.
Tell him that you still have half an hour's work to do. Come back in a half an hour. And none of you should find it difficult to be calm with my revolver pointed at you. And now let's talk so our good friend won't be troubled. Do you tango, madame? There's nothing like a tango to bring people closer together. Well, here I am, Mr. Time, tide, and Lenz can always be depended upon.
A little too early. I still have some work to do. Come back in an hour. Half an hour, Mr. Half an hour will be enough. Oh, yes. Half an hour. As you say. All the goods put away. Every last piece. That's fine. Much better than to let things lie around all night. You might be my echo.
Always be suspicious. Don't be fooled by anybody. Anything strange -- if it ain't more than a mouse's whisker -- call the police. There's a man for you. From the Vienna protective agency, aren't you? That's right. I could tell. You may have noticed my car standing in front of the shop. Would you mind carrying out those two bags and putting them in? They're not filled with feathers, are they?
I should say not. Oh, I see. Taking it away to have it melted. Yes, tomorrow, the whole lot gets melted. Well, I'm glad to see somebody in Vienna's doing business. Good night, Mr. And you won't move away from this car until I come out, will you? When I watch, I watch. No, no, no, no, no. Well, I must bow to that. Thank you, but I've done even better.
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Hollander, do smoke one of my cigarettes. With pleasure. Now, inhale deeply. Yes, in Paris once, as I started to tell you, I carried away a case of gold in broad daylight, and 12 gendarmes accompanied my motor. Nothing like having the help of the police. Mere bravado. Not at all. I don't fancy your method of buying the authorities. We know that you bankers keep governments in your waistcoat pockets. Go right on smoking, Mr. Never mind us. Oh, the present order of society is entirely satisfactory to me. You think I should do as well for myself under communism?
What should I steal? Power plants? Grain elevators? International finance takes brains. He's not laughing at you, baron. It's just life you're laughing at, Mr. Hollander, isn't it? If you're so clever, why not come around to my office someday, and I'll try you out? I couldn't take that chance. You're a banker. You might not be honest with me. What's so funny?! Drop him on the sofa, then out the back. What did you give him? A pleasant, harmless smoke.
He'll awake in the morning, fresh and happy, with a marvelous appetite. I only smoke cigars. Well, then, perhaps you will be kind enough to step into the safe. To my everlasting regret, I am going to be forced to lock you in. Don't be depressed. It isn't for life. The cells are -- uh, the safes are comfortable and electrically lighted. And now, madame, with which gentleman would you prefer to share a safe? I prefer not to be locked up at all, with either of them. Very diplomatic. In that case, we lock the gentlemen up together. If you please, gentlemen.
Let me tell you something. If you let us go now, I'll try and get you off with a light sentence, but if you lock us up, that's legal assault, and I'll see to it that you get the limit. I'm sorry to have to interrupt. You can finish your speech in the safe. Auf Wiedersehen! Don't let him frighten you, Teri. The evening paper, sir! Now to dispose of you. What are you going to do to me? Oh, but they're harmless, really. Two puffs, and you'll be hearing soft music. The world will begin to revolve pleasantly. Three, a beautiful dream. How do you know all this? I assure you, all the ladies fall asleep happily.
So you can steal their jewels in peace, I suppose. I won't take it. I don't want to have to force you. You're adamant? I prefer to keep my wits about me, thank you. I had a feeling you'd be stubborn. I'm not trying to amuse you, but to make a clean getaway. Would you rather I gag you? Why must you do anything to me?
I have no particular desire to see you arrested. You've given me a very exciting 10 minutes. It will make me the center of interest at teas and dinners for weeks to come. But think how much more interesting your story will be if I brutally gag you. It's a much better story if I could say that you locked the gentlemen in the safe and dashed out. Well, you don't actually have to dash. Then everyone will ask you why you didn't call out. That will make you an accomplice after the fact. That's even more thrilling. I'm afraid we're losing sight of the main object. Oh, no, no, please.
Please don't hurt my lips. Everyone says my lips -- are heavenly. You're so lovely. It's hard to be brutal with you. You do strike a fresh note. Up to now, men have always been brutal because I am lovely. The safe. If you'll come with me. What do you expect me to do in there alone? Madame, this is business. I refuse the safe. Well, then come with me. I'll drop you somewhere in the suburbs, untouched. Untouched in the suburbs? Oh, no. No, that doesn't intrigue me at all. I'm afraid you'll just have to let me go free here. I assure you I have no interest in having you arrested.
The man in me would like to believe you. The robber is more cynical. I give you my word. I don't lie. My hand on it. Your hand. Oh, my ring! Oh, it would have been a pity to miss this. Now, don't bend your finger. It may hurt. You shouldn't put obstacles in the way of a man trying to earn his living. How intimate. You hurt me.
Aw, no, no. Are you really going to steal my ring? Yes, but only as a memento, a souvenir of the lady who was willing to share a safe with me. That's not true. I didn't mean that. No, but you did mean the slap, didn't you? You know, I'd have allowed more time for this robbery if I'd known you to be here. I'm almost tempted to kiss you. I-I'm afraid you might scream. H-here you are, sir. Ah, splendid. With the compliments of the Vienna protective agency -- not a loss to an investor in 38 years.
Oh, no, I couldn't, sir. Come, an honest day's pay for an honest day's work. Just keep the box. Oh, thank you, sir! I'll smoke them later. What is the matter, sir? Out in the shops, the Ringstrasse! These robberies are becoming increasingly daring! It is essential that we leave no stone unturned to apprehend this criminal and his possible accomplices!
A man comes out of nowhere, flourishing a revolver. To Teri, such a man is not an enemy to society, but a romantic figure. I must work hard to acquire wealth, devise shrewdly, think clearly, outwit men. But that doesn't make me interesting, - does it, my darling? No, but this man, perfectly safe behind his revolver I'm glad I'm not in his shoes. Teri will soon have a chance to see how debonair he is wearing handcuffs. Something thrilling. What is it, Paul? There was a holdup in the jewelry shop.
Oh, how exciting! We were locked in the safe. Teri was left alone with the robber. The police aren't satisfied with her statement. Oh, they are silly to expect a woman to tell the truth about what happened when she was alone with a man. That's the order of the day -- be attracted to a criminal! Any man who doesn't bathe daily and who has a police record becomes a hero. The courtrooms are crowded with women. A man that does some shooting, and half the women forget their husbands.
And if he happens to have married a girl or two on the side, he becomes a national hero. You're quite right. What did happen, Teri? You also believe that I let the robber go free? You let him go because you're incurably romantic. He evidently extracted a promise from you to keep quiet if he didn't lock you up in the other safe, and you were so touched by his consideration that you kept your word.
I've noticed that women keep their word only with men they'll never see again. The president is waiting, sir. Excuse me. I am here because the police ordered me to come. Nevertheless, I-I want to thank you for explaining to the police that even a Sherlock Holmes would have carried out the two bags. Yes, yes. Did they say which one of the robbers they think they have caught? Oh, yes, he would know.
He has made a personal issue of this. He is right. What would happen if they started locking cabinet ministers in vaults as a regular habit? The country would probably have some peace. Whom have they arrested? One of the robbers, they think. Did they find any of the jewels on him? If they had, there'd be no need to identify him.
Yeah, more than likely, they've caught someone - who was Miles away from the scene of the robbery! Is that a fitting sentiment for an ex-police officer? I don't like this business of identifying robbers. The president is waiting to question us again. Very good. He'll see you later. But nevertheless, we still want to know why you did not scream when the robber left.
I told you. I fainted. Bring in the prisoner! We have caught one of the men. I told you the police would get them. If it's the robber and he isn't handsome, I'll never forgive you, Teri. Will you be so good as to identify him? Baron Horhenfels, you recognize this man, don't you?
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I think so. My eyes were focused on the leader, but I'm quite sure this fellow was one of the thieves, quite sure. And you, baroness? Uh, I don't know. I think not. You haven't half-looked at him. W-- I suppose he's one of them. You'll swear to that? Send in night watchman Lenz. Hollander could identify him, I'm certain. That drugged cigarette will keep him asleep for hours yet. We'll question him when he wakes up. Lenz, this man was one of them, wasn't he? I-I simply put the bags in the car. But he was one of the thieves, wasn't he?! I simply put the bags in the car. I see nothing to laugh at!
Neither do I.
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But if you would have tipped me off, given me the high sign, winked your other eye, or wriggled your little finger at the robber, I'd have been on my guard. But there you all sat as quiet-like -- as quiet As a man with a gun pointed at him. This is no joke, Lenz! I'll talk to you later! As for you ladies and gentlemen, there will be no need of further questions for the present.
I thank you for your indulgence and your cooperation. You stay! Good night, baron. Good night, baroness. It was very kind of you to come down. Perhaps a little solitary confinement will improve your eyesight. Permit me, your excellency. And your memory -- possibly that'll improve under the gentle care of our police. Andre, will you please see Teri and Marianne home? We're going with the president to follow up some clues. And console yourself with the thought that, in all probability, I shall phone you in half an hour and tell you that we have captured the thief.
You are most generous. The thought that you are placing your life in jeopardy in the defense of your honor and mine will enable me to sleep soundly. Yes, this is Napolon. I am Napolon! No, no, this is Napolon. No, I am Napolon. But you can't be Napolon. Now, why? Why can't I be Napolon? Because you look like -- what?