24 FEBRUARY 2001, Page 54

Rich rewards


ThRougemont e jet-set is in mourning and, like Electra, it becomes it. Marc Rich has called off his Las Vegas-theme party in St Moritz this weekend, which will force a few Englishmen in the Engadine to commit an unnatural act and pay their own bill. The reason given was the bad publicity and the hounding of the host by the press. The last time Marc Rich called off a party was in Spain, about five or six years ago. His Mossadtrained bodyguards were tipped off that his private jet would be forced down the moment it left Swiss airspace by Yankee F16s, so he stayed put. No reason was offered back then. Although the US government was out to grab him, Rich had the proverbial ace up his sleeve. By giving lotsa moolah to Israel, he was being fed information by Mossad that even the top brass of the Pentagon weren't getting. Mossad knew that the snatch was on by listening in on the Americans. They tipped off the fugitive fraudster, a move that eventually made Bill Clinton rich, pun intended.

Last week I wrote in my own `Taki's Top Drawer' that, as America was not as yet Israel-occupied territory, the 200 million Rich gave to those nice guys, who attack rock-throwing youth with armour-piercing missiles, should not count as philanthropy where America is concerned. To my great annoyance the sentence never appeared. When I rang in an Orlando Furioso mood, I was told by a very polite flunky that 'we were trying to protect you, this is New York'.

Well, there you have it. Marc Rich I have never met and hope never to. I once went out to dinner following a Norman Mailer book party with a Greek called Olga and Norman's son, my buddy Michael Mailer, the boxer and film producer, who happened to have an Estee Lauder blonde (common but not too bad) in tow. The blonde thought my girl was from the lower classes because she (Olga) stood up to shake hands with her. She snubbed her throughout the evening. (Actually, she's a Greek royal.) We went to Elaine's, and after lotsa boozing, I asked the blonde her name. Daniella Rich', came the answer. Being well oiled, I told her it was not her fault her father was a Christian-basher who had caused more harm to Broadway and the theatre in general than Bomber Harris had to Dresden. She looked nonplussed. 'My father hates the theatre, never goes,' or words to that effect. Then the penny dropped. Papa was not fat Frank Rich of the New York Times. Papa was the crook who was to pull off the impossible: drag the whore Bill Clinton down to his level. But back to the party which never was.

A pretty American girl called Serena Boardman was coming all the way from Noo Yawk for it. When I asked her whether she would go to a party given, say, by John Gotti, the dapper Don, as the Big Bagel tabloids refer to him, she told me it was not the same thing. 'Yes,' I said. `Gotti is dumb and in jail; Rich, the far bigger criminal and traitor, is in St Moritz.' That's the way it goes, sports fans. The truly big crooks get away with it and go to St Moritz and Gstaad, the little guys go to the big house up the river. And if any of you believe that Rich has not passed money under the table to Bill Clinton, then you should also believe that I'm Monica Lewinsky's mother.

Marc Rich, however, has done us a favour. By bribing everyone and sundry, he managed to expose the side of Clinton so many leftists and liberals refused to see. He also proved what we, soi-disant antiSemites for daring to protest about soldiers shooting at kids, always knew. The way to Uncle Sam's heart runs through Tel Aviv and Israeli-occupied territory. Rich and Clinton deserve each other. Both make everyone around them seem bigger.