Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s new security chief was fired by Michael Jackson’s family after they discovered past drunk-driving charges and a domestic violence complaint against him, DailyMail.com can reveal.
The Jacksons sacked Alberto Alvarez after the pop star’s death as they reportedly felt something was ‘off’ about him.
The family let him go despite Alvarez remaining loyal to Jackson, and was one of the first at the scene when the King of Pop was found dead at his home in June 2009.
News of Harry and Meghan appointing him emerged in May when he was pictured cycling alongside the British former royal in Montecito, California.
The 45-year-old had worked for pop legend Michael Jackson and even testified at the 2011 trial into his death and called 911 on the night he died in 2009. He is pictured with Jackson in Hollywood months before his death
Alvarez, 45, is highly-trained, has 15 years’ experience, and is used to dealing with celebrity clients.
But his hiring by Harry, whose mother Diana died in a drunk driver crash, may surprise some fans of the royals.
In March, 2010 TMZ reported that Alvarez was fired by the Jackson family. Alvarez’s DUI and domestic violence charges to light that month article by the now-defunct website PopEater, bought by the Huffington Post.
The site claimed that the Jacksons got rid of the security guard ‘after they discovered he had a criminal record and no longer felt he should be near the family’s large brood of children’.
Alvarez had worked as a bodyguard for Jackson for more than five years. He was pictured by the singer’s side during Jackson’s 2004 child molestation trial in Santa Maria, California, and again in Beverly Hills in May 2009 just days before Jackson’s death.
After Jackson’s death neighbors said the discreet security chief had kept his job for the singer under wraps the whole time.
Alvarez was a key witness in the investigation over Jackson’s death, telling LAPD that the singer’s doctor Conrad Murray stopped performing CPR on him to hide vials of Propofol.
However, there was some controversy over Alvarez’s statements to police, as the former pop king’s bodyguard waited two months before making the claims about Murray.
Alvarez had a second DUI in 2011 in Compton, which landed him four years’ probation, eight days in LA County jail, and a court-mandated 18-month ‘alcohol and other drug education and counseling program’ for DUI ‘second-offenders’.
The case files for Alvarez’s 2000 and 2009 cases have since been destroyed, but the charges and convictions remain on his record.
Alvarez was later hired by boy band One Direction for their security.
He told UK outlet The People that the job helped him through a tough time following Jackson’s death.
‘The events of three years ago are less heavy on my mind. They won’t ever go away but I do feel better. I started working as a bodyguard again last year,’ he said in the 2012 interview.
‘Working for One Direction, the biggest boyband in the world, is so exciting. I did some work for them in California last year and they liked me.
‘I’m really excited. They’re a great group of young men and they have great talent. I am proud to work for them.
‘Working for the boys has pulled me through a terrible time. It really helped me cope with what happened three years ago when Michael died.
‘I’ve been through the mill but I am coming out the other side.’
Alvarez now works as an ‘Executive Protection Agent’ for TorchStone Global, according to his LinkedIn.
Other executives from the agency have been pictured alongside the royals, including company vice president Christopher Sanchez, who spent 14 years in the secret service protecting Barack Obama.
Alvarez is licensed as a security guard and has an exposed firearm permit with the California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services valid until May 31, 2024.
He has been seen at the royals’ side, showing up in photos of the prince riding his bike near his $15million home in Montecito in May and beside the duchess as she laid flowers at the memorial for victims of the Uvalde, Texas mass shooting.
Alvarez worked for Global 360 Protection Service for over a decade until April this year.
The firm provides $15-an-hour security guards for bowling alleys and car parks, and is the subject of three ongoing lawsuits from disgruntled ex-employees.
The owner, Darius Trugman, a veteran LAPD officer who has been providing protection for A-list clients since 2009, confirmed to DailyMail.com that Alvarez worked there for 12 years.
The agency has provided security for One Direction and Hollywood actor Channing Tatum.
One security source told the Sun of Alvarez’s appointment to Harry’s security team: ‘Alberto has worked with the biggest celebrities so knows every trick in the book of keeping them out of harm’s way.
‘He is discreet and was extremely loyal to Michael. He and Harry seem like a good match and Harry hopes he’s the man to look after him and his family.’