The Scottish Mail on Sunday
Tang is the man who broke into the Kremlin
Cigar tycoon’s secret mission to meet Putin
SIR DAVID TANG surpassed his own legendary status as the man who has been pals with everyone from Fidel Castro to Kate Moss by employing some cunning to meet Vladimir Putin.
The Hong Kong entrepreneur orchestrated a bizarre tete-a-tete with the Russian leader by posing as a lowly member of Oliver Stone’s camera crew, who were in Moscow filming a documentary for Sky.
As Sir David, 62, is used to having doors flung open for him at the world’s most exclusive celebrity hotspots, slipping through the smallest door in the Kremlin was quite a departure.
‘I entered a room with cheap imitation Versailles furniture and two corpulent waiters in ill-fitting black suits. A single lamp dimly lit the unassuming entrance and there was no grand staircase,’ says Sir David, who was once personally driven by the Queen at a Sandringham shoot.
Sir David’s powers of persuasion are such that when he met Castro in 1992 he secured an exclusive franchise to sell Cuban cigars, but even his charm could not persuade Putin to let slip any state secrets.
Sir David says: ‘I was finally led up to the most influential man on Earth. The words coming out of my mouth did not really register with my brain, which was think- ing all the time that the man in front of me could have imparted more secrets than any other man on the planet, but instead was talking incongruously about pedestrian Chinese food and his Chinese jackets.’
The rendezvous, pictured above, took place in February but has TALKS: Tycoon Sir David with Putin been marked top secret by Sir David until now. The documentary is to be broadcast on Sky on Tuesday, and Putin might be in for a shock when he sees Sir David’s name in the credits listed under executive producer, not runner.
I can only hope that he sees the funny side!