The appeal trial of Wojciech Janowski, sentenced to life imprisonment at his initial trial for the murder of his mother-in-law Hélène Pastor, got under way on 18 October 2021.

Wojciech Janowski, the former Polish honorary consul in Monaco, is back in court. The former husband of Sylvia Pastor, daughter of Monegasque businesswoman Hélène Pastor, is accused of ordering his mother-in-law’s assassination. The plaintiff has always pleaded not guilty, a claim he repeated at the start of the trial in Aix-en-Provence on Monday: “I am innocent, I didn’t do anything, it’s a conspiracy, a set-up.

In an interview with Paris-Match before the trial, Hélène Pastor’s son, Gildo Pastor, questioned whether “the investigation had gone as far as possible” and called for “justice for [his] mother”.

An eventful trial

Hélène Pastor was the owner of a real estate empire estimated at 12 billion euros, which ranked her among the largest fortunes in Monaco. In May 2014, she was shot dead outside a hospital in Nice, while visiting her son Gildo, who had suffered a stroke. His driver, Mohamed Darwich, also died.

In 2018, Wojciech Janowski was convicted of ordering her assassination.  In a spectacular turn of events, his lawyer Éric Dupond-Moretti, the current French Justice Minister, had confessed to the murder on his behalf. The motive? “Money. Money that drives you mad … ». Wojciech Janowski subsequently denied the claims of his legal representative.