Story

A domestic violence case before Monaco Criminal Court

tribunal-monaco
Monaco Tribune

The argument broke out the day she found out over the phone that he was cheating on her. 

Both parties claim to be the victims in the case, which was heard by the Monaco Criminal Court on Tuesday 25 October. She is 35 years old, of Ukrainian descent, and unemployed, relying on the 50,000 euros she receives every month from her husband, with whom she has been going through divorce proceedings since March 2020.

He is an investor, 10 years her senior, a member of a wealthy family that owns a pharmaceutical empire worth more than a billion euros. On 27 October 2019, a violent argument allegedly took place between them following suspicions of infidelity. The woman filed a complaint.

The facts

While on a train to Moscow to visit her family, she called her husband who inadvertently picked up the phone while having sex with another woman and was caught, quite literally, ‘in the act’.

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She got off the train and rushed back to their home, a 360m2 apartment in Monaco that she still occupies at present. The conversation between the couple quickly turned ugly and the wife scratched her husband and hit him in the face, causing him two days’ medical leave. In response, the husband, who now lives in a villa in Cap d’Ail, is suspected of having pushed her against a wall and then kicking her several times.

The couple both have Kittitian and Nevisian nationality, have been married since 2013 and had a son together who is now eight years old.

“I was sad and upset but not angry,” the wife replied, when the Court’s president, Jérôme Fougeras Lavergnolle, asked her to describe her state of mind when she returned to her husband. She added, through her interpreter, that she had wanted to go back in order to pick up her belongings.

With surprising calm, she talked about the character of the man with whom she shared almost ten years of her life. “Our whole family has suffered because of him (…) He drinks a lot and this is not the first time he has been violent. I think his first wife committed suicide because of his bipolar behaviour”, she said on the stand.

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Although the man seemed dismayed by the allegations made in court, he admitted he has a bipolar disorder but said he is “not a danger” to himself or to others. “I just tend to be euphoric,” he explained. His criminal record is clean, as is that of the young woman. 

Violence is unacceptable, whether in attack or in defence”: the prosecutor therefore requested the same sentence for both parties. This would mean that they would either both receive a one-month suspended sentence or be released. 

Money at the root?

“Money is at the root of this trial,” the husband’s lawyer stated, in a tense courtroom. “She wants to turn this trial to her advantage in the divorce. It was my client who decided to file for divorce, and then she filed a complaint, months later! Four people testified for my client, none for this woman”, he continued.

As a result of this procedure, his client was denied Monegasque residency and had to give up on the diplomatic post he had been seeking. Maitre Pierre-Olivier Lambert of the Paris Bar therefore claimed damages of 150,000 euros.

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According to the plaintiff’s Monegasque lawyer, the defendant’s family “reeks of money”, and it is thanks to his financial situation that he allegedly obtained testimonies from staff who worked for him. “Bipolarity combined with alcohol can make individuals aggressive“. He asked that his client be released. 

The case was taken under advisement and the verdict will be announced on 22 November at 2pm.