The main protagonists of the ‘Clean hands’ case were released from their corruption charges yesterday. However, the criminal court in Marseille was less mild during the second political-financial part of the case and sentenced the Vestri family to between two and three years of suspended imprisonment.
A judicial mountain has given birth to a pebble. Seven years of investigation, ten days of trial and, after the deliberations by the correctional court of Marseille, the “clean hands” case concluded with several releases. Beginning with the mayor of Beausoleil, Gérard Spinelli, and the Marzocco brothers, Paulo and Claudio, promoters of the famous Odeon tower. The flagship for the case was the evidence which led to the detention of the mayor of Beausoleil who spent four months in prison as part of the investigation. He was reproached for allegedly accepting envelopes of cash so as not to hinder the building of a gigantic residential tower at the gates of his municipality. The mayor of Beausoleil always defended himself as not-guilty. His innocence has now been recognized by the Criminal Court.
Despite his repeated confessions to the court, the key man in this case, Ange-Romeo Alberti, has also been released. The 72-year-old Italian-Monegasque entrepreneur whom everyone calls “Lino” is the thread which links the cases together. Investigators thought they had found proof of a pact of corruption after they discovered one of the coffers from the villa that he shared in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin with the rich heiress of the German equipment manufacturer Max Grundig. There was also the envelope of cash with the name “Gérard” written on it, which contained 60,000 euros. The mayor of Beausoleil has always denied being the addressee pointing out the fact that he had no power to oppose a Monegasque project. An argument heard by the court which thus produced reasonable doubt in the theory of corruption in the Odeon tower. For Eric Dupond-Moretti, one of the lawyers for the Marzocco brothers, the results could not have been otherwise. “The file was already fragile,” he said. “The proceedings turned in our favour.” For Dupond-Moretti, this judgment is less “a victory for the defence” than “justice” which should put an end to the“nightmare” for his clients “after years of calumny and media pressure.”
The Guilty Vestri family
This part of the case concerned the entourage of the late mayor of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Having died in 2013, René Vestri was the one major absentee during the proceedings. His wife Lucette, his daughter Olivia and his son-in-law Rafaele Vanacore all appeared in court. All three were sentenced to between two and three years of suspended imprisonment for tax fraud or abuse of social assets. The court also seized their accounts in Switzerland, which held nearly three million euros when investigators discovered them.
For helping the Vestri family make their secret nest egg, Lino Alberti was also sentenced to three years of suspended sentence and a 100,000 euro fine. The sentence is much less than the five years and one million euro fine requested by the prosecution. His lawyer, Franck de Vita feels some “satisfaction” and observes that “the court heard the fact that Lino Alberti had done this out of friendship for René Vestri and without any personal enrichment.”
It remains to be seen whether the prosecution is also satisfied with this verdict. Asked if he intended to call the public prosecutor of the Republic of Marseille, he responded by stating he did not wish to, at least in the immediate future, express himself on the subject.
The ‘Clean Hands’ Sentences
The Odéon section of the case: General release for Gérard Spinelli, Mayor of Beausoleil, Claudio and Paulo Marzocco, as well as for the entrepreneur Ange-Romeo Alberti.
The offshore accounts of the Vestri family section: Lucette Vestri and her daughter Olivia have been sentenced to three years of suspended sentence. The husband of the latter, Rafaele Vanacore, has been sentenced to two years suspended. Finally, ‘Lino’ Alberti has been sentenced to three years of suspended imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 euros.