"Clean hands": the late Senator Vestri's family accounts
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Rene Vestri

“Clean hands”: the late Senator Vestri’s family accounts

The Correctional Court uncovered accounts in Switzerland belonging to the late Senator-Mayor of Saint Jean-Cap-Ferrat. But they had trouble defining the exact origin of this “nest egg”.

After looking at the Odéon tower, with its impressive heights, immense budget andalleged links to subversive commissions, the Sixth chamber of the Correctional Court of Marseille looked at a completely different site yesterday. A building more modest in appearance, even if it’s located on billionaire peninsula. This is the second part of the case nick-named “clean hands”: looking into the family of the late senator-mayor of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Rene Vestri. Starting with one of his daughters, Marjorie, who in 2008, undertook renovating the villa of Saint John, bequeathed to her from one of her uncles.

A maze of Offshore Companies

The villa doesn’t even reach the ankle of the Marzocco tower, yet the work accredited to Marjorie Vestri reaches the same one million euro budget. There have been over runs and entrepreneurs wanting to be paid back. “It was necessary to extinguish the fire,” admits “Lino” Alberti on the stand, a key man in this case who, allegedly distributed envelopes of cash. Investigators saw him settling accounts in cash on behalf of the Vestri girl. Their investigations lead them to Switzerland, where the senator-mayor and members of his family concealed several million euros. Panama and the British Virgin Islands are where Marjorie Vestri, her sister Olivia, and her husband Raffaele Vanacore have their accounts. All three were helped by the master of the art in the matter,”Lino” Alberti. Once again, he served as an intermediary: “René Vestri asked me for a service,” he explains. “He was worried about the future and entrusted me to shelter money for his daughters.” Alberti would then have directed the Senator towards Silvio Perlino. This financier who was established in the Principality is also being sued for “laundering”. In custody, he admitted managing more than 1000 offshore companies. Which in itself is not an offense for a Monegasque national, except when his French client has a difficult time explaining the origin of the funds placed off-shore. “The question,” says the president Christine Mée, “is to know what the origin of these funds are. Unfortunately, there are not many in this court room who are not willing to answer this. The emblematic mayor of Saint-Jean, René Vestri, died in 2013. His wife, Lucette aged 76, although prosecuted, was exempt from her hearing for medical reasons. A psychological analysis of Marjorie Vestri concluded that it was necessary to “protect her”.

Saint Jean-Cap-Ferrat
The Correctional Court uncovered accounts in Switzerland belonging to the late Senator-Mayor of Saint Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

So there only remains his sister, Olivia, and her companion. While in police custody, the two of them said that the money came from misappropriations during the operation of a private beach in Passable. Which is how Olivia had already been previously convicted for tax evasion and what can cause them to be presently dismissed for abuse of social goods. But, this did not answer the question about “700 000 euros diverted over 10 years”. Now Olivia Vestri says her account in Switzerland has been stocked with “savings” from her parents. And when the prosecutor questions her about the reasons for this turnaround, she explains that at the time the whole family “moved money from the beach to protect (her) father” René Vestri. The senator was not to be mixed up in all this, yet, by tracking the history of transfers made from an offshore company to another offshore company, the survey showed that the elected French politician had accounts in Switzerland long before his daughters opened one. President Christine Mée emphasizes a particularly astonishing operation carried out in 1991: “It would appear that René Vestri sold himself a real estate located in Èze. Through sleight of hand, the funds he had at that time were doubled!”

“The beach does not explain everything”

All these funds start to make “a large nest egg”. And this is not even counting the cash diverted from the Passable beach. Even though the president finds this new story “unreliable”, she readily acknowledges that “the beach would not explain everything”. Neither does her story that her deceased brother left Lucette Vestri large sums in cash because he did not like taxation. This does not explain how their francs transformed into euros. Unless there is something else that needs to come to light. Christine Mée recalled that at the beginning of this investigation that there had been suspicions of favouritism regarding public contracts in the commune of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Even though there was no prosecution at the time.” This part of the case, closed in February 2013, with the death of the Senator René Vestri.
Source: Monaco Matin

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