in Monaco, a “crow” shakes the prince’s entourage

By Gérard Davet and Fabrice Lhomme

Posted today at 6:10 p.m.

It weighs heavy, this backpack, voluntarily abandoned under a table by the source of the World, in early February, in a bar in eastern Paris. A few kilos of printed emails and various documents… And, above all, according to these documents, several billion euros of potential embezzlement of public funds operated in the heart of the Principality of Monaco. The source seems reliable, but all this requires verification, of course.

Some confidential emails look genuine, hacked into mailboxes. There are also bank account statements, listed in Switzerland. Millions of euros waltz, names appear… Four, especially: Didier Linotte, the – French – president of the Monegasque Supreme Court (the local Constitutional Court); Claude Palmero, chartered accountant, but above all a confidant and administrator of the property of Prince Albert II; Laurent Anselmi, Chief of the Sovereign’s Cabinet; Thierry Lacoste – also French – lawyer and childhood friend of Albert.

These names should be remembered. They are the prince’s men, those through whom everything passes in the Principality. Monaco was already buzzing with their actions, real or supposed, but these documents expose them to the light of day. Here they are accused of forming a kind of “G4” both discreet and sprawling, with Albert II in the background, as a naive and outdated sovereign.

Should we blindly follow this “information” served on a plate? In the background, a sulphurous thesis takes shape: these men of influence would take their tithe on the real estate transactions carried out in the Principality. We are talking here about hectares reclaimed from the sea, huge towers, buildings that are built only to demolish them a few years later in order to be able to rebuild them, higher, more flashy, more profitable…

Heritage hates

It is enough to walk in the congested streets of the micro-state to measure how much the cranes are part of the landscape. Construction sites abound, Ferraris and other Porsches slalom between the barracks. To the east, two towers of 27 and 30 floors rise from the ground: this is the Testimonio II project. Elsewhere, the 100,000 square meters of buildings on the Pasteur island or the new Mareterra district, conquered from the Mediterranean… Monaco has 4.8 kilometers of shoreline, just 200 hectares of steep terrain, 38,000 inhabitants, including 8,000 Monegasques – and 749 Russians – the world record price per square meter (up to 100,000 euros!) and therefore the favorite hunting ground for builders and developers.

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