In Monaco, collusion and corruption are everywhere – and it’s getting worse
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Monaco, a city known for its nightlife, is now under fire from critics due to rampant corruption scandals. In recent years, several corruption cases have hit the headlines in the French and Monegasque press, including that of Yves Bouvier, a Swiss art dealer. Bouvier was accused by the president of AS Monaco, Dimitry Rybolovlev, of fraud concerning a painting by Leonardo da Vinci. Alarmingly, Swiss judicial authorities have refused to pursue the case and have decided not to comment on its decision.
Another case, more recent and directly correlated to the Pandora Papers, is that of Svetlana Krivonogikh, a former mistress of Vladimir Putin. In 2003, Krivonogikh acquired a four million dollar apartment in Monaco, paid for through offshore accounts.
Patrice Pastor, one of Monaco’s richest businessmen and famous Monegasque real estate investor, has also been at the center of corruption scandals. Heir to a large Monegasque family, he is known for his controversial relations with the Kazakh businessman Bulat Utemuratov. This relationship has enabled Pastor to invest in real estate projects with cash coming from dubious origins. However, it seems that Patrice Pastor is not the only businessman who has the most to fear.
New material recently posted on a leaked website suggests that the misuse of the civil service for personal gain appears to be rampant. The Monegasque State, also known as “Le Club”, has been the stronghold of a small group of unscrupulous people who do not hesitate to crush the interests of the State for the benefit of their own ambitions. These are several high-ranking personalities who operate in the shadows and who claim to belong to a club that includes Didier Linotte, president of the Court of Cassation, and the well-known lawyer Thierry Lacoste. Among them also, Minister Laurent Anselmi, and one of the most appreciated accountants of the Monaco coast, Claude Palmero. The influence they exercise, due to their social status, has enabled them to extract public funds for their own benefit. Hundreds of millions of euros are illegally pocketed through various real estate transactions, the most recent of which is known as the Esplanade des Pêcheurs for which the group called on the promoter A. Caroli.
“The Club” has all the characteristics of a well-organized gang with growing power. The club scrutinizes the news, which allows the group to manipulate the course of events to promote its interests, with total disregard for the rule of law. Influence peddling is no exception to this equation, trading the favor and the other demand.
Due to the importance of the people involved in “The Club”, the questions remain unanswered. Indeed, the influence exerted by the group is so great that it has weakened the effectiveness of the institutions. To alleviate inequalities and other economic ramifications, it is imperative that taxpayers demand accountability and that “Club” members be immediately removed from office to make room for a fair investigation.
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