Communication from the Public Prosecution Department
To avoid the spread of information based on rumours, the Public Prosecutor feels he should make public the following:
When an information file was opened on the count of other allegations, distinct facts that could be indicative of corruption and influence peddling were discovered
On 3 October 2016, the Public Prosecutor asked the Police Department to investigate these facts.
It soon became apparent that a former police officer at the Police Department, who has been retired for several years, had made arrangements with a dozen or so members linked to the same Belgian family, who were holders of residence permits in Monaco.
While he was carrying out his duties at the Police Department, and afterwards, this officer, who was probably assisted by two colleagues at the Police Department, seems to have encouraged the issuing of fake residence permits to these people for an agreed annual remuneration.
Thus, these persons retained their status of residency in the Principality, although they did not live in Monaco, but continued to reside in Belgium.
These persons were officially tenants of apartments, but sub-let their accommodation in a covert way, with the help of a local estate agent, giving the impression that the premises were occupied in a legal manner.
In a framework of spontaneous judicial cooperation, the Principality's Public Prosecutor, accompanied by the Chief of the Criminal Investigation Division, travelled to Brussels on 21 October 2016 to discuss this matter with his counterpart from the Belgian Federal Prosecution Service. These acts of corruption, influence peddling and money laundering were officially communicated to the Belgian judiciary system, which intends to take action against the offences committed by its citizens. An enquiry was opened immediately in Belgium and investigations are currently under way.
In Monaco, an examining judge was immediately informed on 28 October 2016, a case having been opened against unknown persons for influence peddling, corruption, forgery and the use of false documents, breach of trust and money laundering. Various proceedings are under way.
Like all other States in the world, Monaco is not exempt from corruption by certain individuals.
Its up-to-date legislation in this regard enables action to be taken against such activities, and the Principality, in line with its international commitments, intends to combat this type of criminality effectively. The rule of law must prevail.
In this particular case, the procedures worked smoothly, despite the unusual nature of the case, thanks in particular to the excellent cooperation between the Judiciary and the Police:
- an investigation was ordered by Monaco's Public Prosecutor, and undertaken rapidly and efficiently by the Police Department, despite the involvement of former police officers
- the Belgian authorities were notified and informed quickly
- there was effective cooperation with these authorities
- an examining judge was notified immediately and requested to investigate further, with the support of the Criminal Investigation Division.
There is therefore, a real sense of satisfaction, mixed with consternation and sadness, because the image of the Police Department will suffer from this situation, even though it only involves acts limited to a few residence permits that benefitted a family from the European Union and were issued several years ago by officers who have since retired and who were considered, until now, beyond all suspicion.