- Biography of the Year 2019 – Shortlisted
Patrice des Moutis was a handsome, charming and well-educated Frenchman with an aristocratic family and a respectable insurance business – he was also a compulsive gambler and illegal bookie. Between the late 1950s and the early 1970s, Des Moutis made a daring attempt to beat the French state-run betting system. His success so alarmed the authorities that they repeatedly changed the rules of betting in an effort to stop him, and so a battle of wills began.
Cheered on by the general public, Des Moutis remained one step ahead of the law until finally the government criminalised his activities, driving him into the arms of the underworld. Eventually the net began to close, high-profile characters found themselves the target of the state’s investigation, and people began turning up dead.