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AML Penal provisions in Monaco

As regards money-laundering, Article 218.1 of Monaco's Penal Code states that "any person who knowingly, in any manner whatsoever, for himself or for another person, acquires movable or real assets by directly or indirectly using assets or funds of unlawful origin or knowingly possesses or uses such assets", and "any person who knowingly assists any transaction to transfer, invest, conceal or convert assets or funds of unlawful origin" is liable to imprisonment for five to ten years.
Under Article 218.1, paragraphs 2 and 3, any person who attempts to commit the abovementioned offences or conspires with others with a view to doing so is liable to the same penalty.
The offences referred to at Article 218 of Monaco's Penal Code are constituted even if the offence from which the laundered funds derive was committed in another country, provided that it is a criminal offence there.
Attempt, conspiracy or complicity with a view to committing the abovementioned offences are also punishable under Article 218.1 of Monaco's Penal Code.
If the perpetrator of the money-laundering offence acts as a member of a criminal organisation, takes part in other international organised criminal activities, occupies a public office that helps him to commit the offence, takes part in other unlawful activities facilitated by perpetration of the offence, involves minors or has been convicted of a money-laundering offence by a foreign court, that is deemed to constitute an aggravating circumstance in Monegasque law and is punishable by a heavier sentence (Article 218.2).
Article 219 provides for the confiscation of assets and funds of unlawful origin and sets out the conditions of confiscation.

The word "Kowingly" is difficullt to prove for prosecuting authorities. Professionals may deliberately not ask questions as explained in a study from the United Nations that is still up to date in the issues that are addressed :
"Many lawyers, accountants and bankers are (often unselfconsciously) adept at not asking questions that would require them to refuse business or even to report their clients or potential clients to the authorities. But a major component of the motivation for crime is also the expected probability and scale of reward: the reverse side of this is the expectation (if contemplated) of prevention and/or salient punishment. Any form of crime for economic gain can have its relative attractiveness rating altered significantly by changes in detection and sanction levels both for it and for other crimes such as narcotics sales." (See study "Financial havens, banking secrecy and money laundering", Double issue 34 and 35 of the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Newsletter, Issue 8 of the UNDCP Technical Series)

14:15 Posted in Monaco | Permalink | Comments (0)


Fourth Power in Monaco

In order to avoid drifts, media should be able to raise issues.

A couple of months ago, Didier Laurens, 47 years, who was editor of Monaco Hebdo, was dismissed for critizing some situations involving the authorities in Monaco.

It will be interesting to see how the case will handled at the Council of Europe's level.

Didier Laurens's Blog (in French)

05:15 Posted in Monaco | Permalink | Comments (0)


Investment Fraud sentenced

On 12th July 2006 the Monegasque Tribunal found William Fogwell guilty of the charges against him in relation to the collapse of Hobbs Melville in 2000 and sentenced to 5 years prison. He was also fined €500,000. Fogwell was not in court for the sentencing and an international arrest warrant was issued against him. He is now a fugitive from justice. Shelley Fogwell, the 45-year-old daughter, was also convicted of fraud charges against her. She was sentenced to four and a half years in prison and fined €300,000.
Guillaume Losada, Shelley Fogwell's former boyfriend, and Jean-Christophe Moroni, a broker, were found guilty and jailed and fined €100,000. Patrick Grasset, another broker, was discharged and released.

The criminal trial of Bill and Shelley Fogwell had started on 28 March 2006 in the Palais de Justice with a stop after concerns were raised over the impartiality and independence from Monegasque authorities of court President Gérard Launoy who was replaced after three weeks.

The Hobbs-Melville brokerage folded in 2000 leaving a EUR140 million hole in its accounts, according to Reuters
Wealthy investors had invested sums of up to EUR8 million each in the company, lured by the promise of returns of between 30% and 60%. While things appeared to be running smoothly for investors in the five years prior to the collapse of Hobbs-Melville, many suspected that things were amiss when the company began to make late payments and failed to honour other obligations to its stakeholders.
Citing one investor in the firm, Reuters reported that Hobbs-Melville made risky bets in the short-term money markets.
It is thought that around 500 investors have lost money, and 300 of them have hired 50 lawyers to press their case
Mr Hobbs was not present at the court hearing, although his daughter, Shelley, 45, was on the stand in connectionwith the collapse of the brokerage.

Monaco has renewed its determination to rid itself of the image as a haven for financial criminals and money launderers : Prince Albert II, who assumed the throne following the death in April of his father, Prince Ranier, stated in his inaugural speech last July that: “I intend that ethics always be the basis of the behaviour of the Monegasque authorities". The case illustrates the time when English author Somerset Maugham called Monaco "a sunny place for shady people" (quoted by The Times , April 07, 2005).

Lawyers representing several plaintiffs declared they will file proceedings against the Monegasque authorities.

All the steps of the trial were reported by the local media.

Know more

Articles in English :

Investment Fraud Trial Commences In Monaco
Hobbs-Melville - the final verdict

Articles in French

See L'Observateur de Monaco
See the news on TV : France 3 (in French)

17:30 Posted in Monaco | Permalink | Comments (0)