Le Monde has joined the fight in L’Affaire Bouvier-Rybolovlev. But the story has gone beyond a Russian Oligarch’s pique at having hired a self-interested art dealer. That’s not enough to stir Le Monde.
But the possible corruption of Monaco’s legal system by Russian money has broader implications for European society. Thus, Le Monde has a story today on the DVD floating around that contains numerous SMS communications from the phone of Tetiana Bersheda, Rybolovlev’s lawyer.
The texts between Rybolovlev’s lawyers and various Monegasque officials—which Le Monde is now calling the beginning of Monacogate—include more details on the relationship between Rybolovlev and Monaco’s chief legal figure, Philippe Narmino, who reports only to Prince Albert:
The Parisian lawyer Francis Szpiner, a lawyer with François Baroin of M. Bouvier, was indignant at the practices thus revealed: ” I have always said that Mr. Rybolovlev had privatized the justice system in Monaco its profit. There is now evidence that the police, the prosecutor’s office and the equivalent of the Minister of Justice have done everything possible to constitute an association of criminals in order to carry out a scam in the judgment. I ask the Keeper of the Seals to carry out an inquiry into the exercise of the profession of magistrate in Monaco and to the Minister of the Interior an inquiry into the French police officers seconded to Monaco . ” And the lawyer concluded: “I very much hope that the Prince will know how to draw all the necessary conclusions. “In fact, Prince Albert – who has not acted on our demands – is now in the front line. According to Monegasque law, “the Director of Judicial Services shall ensure the proper administration of justice for which he is responsible before the Prince alone”.
Update: In response to Le Monde’s article, Narmino has now resigned.