In brief

Prince Albert II talks about the Dossiers du Rocher, Moneyval, EU

prince albert ii interview
© Gaëtan Luci / Prince's Palace

The Sovereign provided details on many important issues for the Principality.

Monaco-Matin published the continuation of the interview with the Sovereign, on Wednesday this week. The first topic was the Dossiers du Rocher, which featured in France 2’s Complément d’Enquête programme on May 11.

Stating that he “attaches great importance to the freedom of the press”, Prince Albert II prefaced his remarks by saying that there should be a distinction “between journalism and media productions of this type that set a certain tone and shape the debate. They use well-known methods and no-one stands to gain from this type of operation. But once again it is the image of the Principality that is affected and it is neither more nor less than a reputational lynching which is committed against Monaco.”

The Sovereign also said that he had asked those involved in this case to face up to their responsibilities. “Legal action is being taken and we have to let justice do its job, but I hope this time will not be too long because it is all becoming very heavy. And who is on the front line, pictured in the newspapers ? It’s me. However, I am not directly or indirectly involved in these attacks,” said the Prince.

End of the Héli Air monopoly

Monaco-Matin then broached another topic raised by Complément d’Enquête: the non-renewal of Héli Air’s contract, now granted to Monacair, a company owned by the Prince’s nephews, Pierre and Andrea Casiraghi. The Sovereign said that he can understand that there might be some frustration “when someone has had a monopoly for so long [35 years] and it is not renewed, suddenly.»

Nevertheless, the Prince also remarked that a call for tenders had been issued in accordance with the rules for awarding contracts and that past performance had to be taken into account which, in this case, included infringements committed in France by Héli Air in the past. “The courts will decide if the adjudication did not follow due process. (…) The fact that members of my family are involved in Monacair, which was initially created by Stefano Casiraghi, did not weigh in the State’s decision,” the Sovereign said.

European Union: “If we are not satisfied with the final document, there will be no agreement”

At the end of the interview, the Prince spoke about the recent Moneyval recommendations on the fight against money laundering and the funding of terrorism. “Everything is coming together well,” said the Sovereign. “Everyone is working on it, but it’s a race against time. (…) There are regular discussions with the Moneyval Committee and I keep reiterating the Principality’s commitment to comply with the best international practices in this area.”

As for the agreements with the European Union, the Prince expressed some reservations about making significant progress before the end of the year. “I would like to reassure everyone. If we are not satisfied with the final document, there will be no agreement,” the Sovereign said, adding that the red lines set by the Government “have not changed their principles along the way.”

Finally, the Sovereign mentioned the Société des Bains de Mer (SBM), whose new head, Stéphane Valeri, unveiled its ambitious roadmap. “It will not all happen overnight,” said the Prince. “On the other hand, it is good to explore some investment opportunities for SBM in hotels abroad. (…) SBM must always be mindful of its positioning and attractiveness. SBM needs to excel if it is to compete globally.”