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Interview

Prince Albert II decides to “set the record straight” on dispute with former accountant

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Despite the scandals, the Prince knows he can count on "the support of the people of Monaco" - © Prince's Palace

The Sovereign gave an interview to the weekly magazine Le Point on April 2nd. 

Monaco has been badly shaken since 10 October 2021 with the online publication of the ‘Dossiers du Rocher’. Claude Palmero, the Prince’s former estate administrator, is singled out in particular in the collection of documents and confidential messages that anonymously accuse the Prince’s entourage of corruption.

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Although the Sovereign initially continued to place his trust in him, Palmero was eventually ousted from the Prince’s Palace, and the situation escalated. Seven months later, Le Monde  published a series of articles revealing the contents of Claude Palmero’s ‘secret notebooks’, which described, as the weekly put it, “a Sovereign out of his depth, caught in a pincer movement between warring clans, against the backdrop of Monaco’s very lucrative property market.” 

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In the State Office, the Prince appears calm: “It’s a difficult time, but I am optimistic for the future. It is unsettling for the Principality and hurtful on a personal level, but the institutions are solid. The government is functioning, the judiciary is independent, the Principality is doing well economically and I have the support of the Monegasque people… We must now move forward. This is not an institutional crisis, it’s just a story of broken trust and the misuse of a public office for the benefit of private interests. Claude Palmero makes himself out to be the man who will bring down the regime, but it seems to me that he is more of a litigant than a credible vigilante.”

The case of Thierry Lacoste

The Prince also made it known that Claude Palmero “was working on behalf of his clients, property developers operating in the Principality, to the detriment of the State’s interests.”  The Sovereign made no secret of his disappointment: “How could I have imagined that a person who was meant to be trusted to serve the princely family, could betray us so shamelessly?”  The Prince also mentioned Thierry Lacoste, who, along with Claude Palmero, is said to be a member of the ‘G4’, a secret club that also includes Didier Linotte and Laurent Anselmi. “It’s all the more painful for me because I was betrayed by a childhood friend. I warned him several times that he was too involved in Monaco’s affairs Then I learned that he was the lawyer for the developers Marzocco and Caroli, and that he represented interests that ran counter to those of the Monegasque State.”

Also asked by Le Point about the clan war being waged over Monaco’s real estate interests, the Prince stated: “I am not a member of any clan or party. By virtue of my position, I am above the fray. The Pastor real estate group is a historic and powerful economic player in Monaco, and I respect that. If it were proven that Mr Pastor had not acted lawfully, the courts would do their job. I am in no way ‘pastorised’, as some people have claimed. For some years now, there has been a petty settling of scores between the different clans in the Principality. Real estate, a rare and precious resource, stirs up rivalries, whets appetites and gives rise to backroom deals between friends.”

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Claude Palmero and Thierry Lacoste react

As Monaco-Matin reports, Claude Palmero announced that following the publication of the interview with Prince Albert II, he would be bringing a “strong defamation claim to re-establish the truth and establish the facts based on tangible evidence.” Thierry Lacoste expressed his “bewilderment”  in a statement sent to the newspaper.