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Monaco Grand Prix: unusual parties on his yacht

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The defendant stood accused of offences between 2017 and 2019 during Grand Prix weeks - © Pixabay

Sex, drugs, alcohol… The Monegasque resident was sentenced by the Monaco Criminal Court after an anonymous tip-off. 

Every year Monaco is abuzz with excitement during the Formula 1 Grand Prix, and for some, like this French sales manager, that excitement carries on into the night. Between 2017 and 2019, he was in the habit of organising DJ parties on his parents’ yacht, moored in the Principality. Until an anonymous informant contacted the Monegasque authorities to report drug trafficking and prostitution…

A surveillance operation was put in place. Phone taps were to prove very useful to the investigators, especially those of the staff who describe the consumption of drugs as “traces of white powder on trays”.  A raid was carried out on the offshore vessel by French customs in 2019, but their catch was poor as no evidence was found.

LSD, cannabis, hallucinogenic mushrooms..

It was during a second search, this time of the young suspect’s house, that the drugs were found. LSD, cannabis, hallucinogenic mushrooms: a large selection of illegal products was found in the safe at his home. When questioned in police custody, the thirty-something’s initial story was: “I never touch the stuff,” as he declared to the police before being confronted with the phonetaps.

On his phone, some of the messages received and sent via the WhatsApp application were deleted. A few telling exchanges were found however, such as when one of his female friends asked where she could get hold of this or that product.

“I was an occasional user abroad, especially during festivals,” the defendant tried to explain on the stand. “I did not use in Monaco or make drugs available to my friends. During the Grand Prix, I work from morning to night, and I cannot keep an eye on my friends. Besides, it’s the family boat, I would never have tolerated that.”

4 months suspended sentence

His unease was palpable when the prosecutor read out loud a few lines from the transcripts from the staff’s phones: “the son is a dickhead. He and his friends don’t sleep, and neither do we. They’re stoned and completely unhinged.”

The Public Prosecutor’s Office stressed the absence of evidence for trafficking and prostitution, unlike for the possession and use of narcotics. “I do believe this is his way of life,” added the prosecutor, who requested a three-month suspended sentence with probation (obligation to undergo treatment and remain in employment), as well as a 2,000 euro fine.

“My client is not a drug addict,” said the defence lawyer. “What is more, nothing was found on the boat or at his place of work. Only a small amount was seized at his home, and that was from previous consumption. The man before you is perfectly socially integrated, and has lived in Monaco all his life. As part of the judicial review, he was subjected to two years of tests, which always proved negative.”

The court sentenced the man to a four-month suspended prison sentence.