Police officials investigate a serious case of corruption. The case has ramifications in Monaco, Belgium and France. Three of the men speculated to be involved are in the Police force, including two who are retired. At the center of this corruption case there is a trafficking of Monegasque residency permits.
Richard Marangoni, the Director of Public Security, and Jacques Dorémieux, the Attorney General, organised a press conference earlier this week “as part of the prevention of rumours that may circulate even faster in Monaco than in other states,” explains Jacques Dorémieux. A press conference without questions, because investigations are currently underway.
The case file began in September. A magistrate tapped certain telephones whilst investigating another case. Some of these wiretaps revealed possible acts of corruption and trafficking.
On the 3rd of October, the Attorney General asked Police to investigate. The first pieces of evidence from the file establish the existence of possible infringements such as corruption and trafficking in Monaco and Belgium. On the 21st of October, Jacques Dorémieux went to Brussels. An investigation was launched.
A retired police officer is said to have set up a system enabling Belgian nationals to obtain Monegasque residency status without remaining in the Principality. A dozen Belgians have been implicated. They allegedly paid a “contribution” in exchange for residency permits. Officially appearing to be tenants in Monaco, the Belgians allegedly, with the help of a real estate agency, made it appear as though their apartments were occupied.
An 86-year-old Belgian has been charged with “bribery of foreign public officials”
Six people have been arrested and one man has been charged so far as a result of nine searches carried out on Monday in Brussels, in the region of Namur and in the famous seaside resort of Knokke-Heist.
A retired official from the Monegasque Public Security “with the likely assistance of two other collaborators from Public Security, have allegedly issued fictitious residency titles to these persons for an annual fee,” according to the Monegasque prosecutor’s office.
Pierre Salik, an 86-year-old businessman who made a fortune in the textile industry in Belgium, was charged with “bribery of foreign public officials”. He was released from his hearing by Belgian investigators, under strict judicial control.
Pierre Salik has already been implicated in several court cases. His name appeared on “Swiss Leaks”, which is a journalistic investigation of a giant tax evasion scheme allegedly operated with the knowledge and encouragement of the British multinational bank HSBC via its Swiss subsidiary, HSBC Private Bank.
“The charges of corruption have been completely contested,” assures, Mr. Jean-Philippe Mainz, counsel for Pierre Salik, confirming to Belgian newspaper DH that it was indeed his client who was charged.
Eight searches were made this week, including one in a law firm. Nine people were taken into custody. Monegasque officials continued searches in collaboration with French authorities.
Even if the investigation has only just begun, it will probably have many ramifications. “This is a case that will also have internal repercussions,” said Richard Mariangoni. “Since it will undoubtedly lead to large changes to the services concerned so that such practices can no longer be repeated.”