Matt Shea writes: Google image search “Edward Davenport” and you’ll see a mosaic of celebrity selfies featuring everyone from the Prince of Monaco to 50 Cent. “Welcome to the website of Edward Davenport,” the website of Edward Davenport proclaims, “one of London’s most flamboyant and best-known entrepreneurs, as well as a true English gentleman from an established British family.”
But this public persona—that of the aristocratic socialite—is Eddie’s trick. It’s how, in the past, he gained people’s trust and got what he wanted. The man behind that selfie smile—the subject of the new VICE documentary Wolf of the West End—has bankrupted business partners and made an estimated £34.5 million [$51.5 million] through fraudulent activity, according to the Serious Fraud Office (Davenport says the figure wasn’t anywhere near that much).
The 2000s were good to Eddie. After buying Sierra Leone’s London embassy—the Central London mansion, 33 Portland Place—for just £50,000 [$75,000] in 1999, he turned it into an arena for decadent sex parties, spending the next ten years entertaining celebrities and aristocracy. However, in 2011, “Fast Eddie” was convicted of engineering a multi-million pound fraud and sentenced to nearly eight years in prison, before being released in 2014 as an “act of mercy” because of ill health due to one of his kidneys failing.
So what was it like to go from a life of luxury to a South London cell? How would a serial partier cope with life between the sexless walls of Wandsworth Prison? What’s life in jail like for a wealthy white-collar criminal? I spent a fair amount of time with Eddie during the filming of Wolf of the West End, so I got back in touch to find out.
VICE: What’s your worst memory from prison?
Edward Davenport: There were occasions where there was a staff shortage or things would get canceled. So when you normally play badminton on, you know, a Saturday afternoon or something, and then suddenly it gets canceled due to staff shortages, it’s not like you’ve got a lot of other things you can arrange at short notice.
So your worst memory from being in prison was having to reschedule badminton?
[Laughs] I’ve been raided in the middle of the night before.
Why did they raid you?
I think they were looking for illegal contraband items.
What about, like, the solitary nature of it—the boredom and the lack of intimate company. Did that not get to you?
Well, it was a bit like being a virgin again when I got out. I think I had plenty of women before I went in. I mean, maybe if you’ve been into prison and you haven’t done anything before with your life, but I had a bloody busy 45 years where I had had, you know, I suppose you could say, more than anyone could ever dream of and ever want. I had been out most nights—I’d done everything, you know.
The staff are almost up to the standards of politeness and friendliness and professional-ness as hotels. They call you by your name, you know.
OK, but there must have been some bad bits about prison.
Well, having a kidney transplant wasn’t exactly ideal. This is supposed to be a very civilized country, a very sophisticated country, yet here I am for a white-collar crime being taken to do dialysis and, during the whole of the dialysis, left in handcuffs
The kidney story does sound quite bad, but what about the rest of it? I mean, prison can really get to some people. Are you telling me you experienced none of that?
I’ve seen none of that. I think you might have been doing articles on prisons in different countries.
OK. In that case, what was good about prison?
Well, I became quite good at badminton. There wasn’t much else there except playing badminton that was quite good.
Is the rumor true that you used to somehow get the prison guards to give you lobster for dinner?
Well, of course I’d have my own food, yeah. Read the rest of this entry »
Turkish authorities on Monday charged three Western news reporters in southeastern Turkey with working for a “terrorist organization,” said their employer VICE News on Monday, days after the journalists’ detention caused an outcry among human rights groups.
“Today the Turkish government has leveled baseless and alarmingly false charges of ‘working on behalf of a terrorist organization’ against three VICE News reporters, in an attempt to intimidate and censor their coverage.”
— A spokesman for VICE
Jake Hanrahan, Philip Pendlebury, as well as a fixer and a driver were detained by the Turkish authorities while reportedly filming clashes between police and supporters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the province of Diyarbakir.
On Monday, they were charged in a Turkish court, VICE said. Read the rest of this entry »
Thirsty Monkeys Gotta Have Cola
We have come to warn you of a pending obesity epidemic in monkeys. Now that they are drinking our beer and soda, smoking our cigarettes, and making sweet monkey love to our women we assume, there’s nothing to stop them from a life of laziness and high-caloric intake. These 25 pics of monkeys guzzling coca-cola proves they can’t stop themselves…
…22 More Examples of Primate Soft Drink Brand Loyalty via EgoTV…