1706474191 The excessive spending of Albert of Monaco and his family

The excessive spending of Albert of Monaco and his family, revealed by his former accountant

The excessive spending of Albert of Monaco and his family

Anti-kidnapping insurance for one of Prince Albert's eldest children, apartments in Paris, a shop in London, employees in an irregular situation, renting a second home in Corsica or nannies with expired tourist visas. For more than 20 years, the accountant Albert II of Monaco wrote everything down in his notebooks. Claude Palmero, 67, managed not only the ruler's assets, but those of the entire Grimaldi family, which had ruled the small principality since the 13th century. He was also responsible for overseeing the Monegasque royal family's spending and investments until he was suddenly dismissed on June 6, 2023, in a letter dated June 6, 2023, following unconfirmed allegations of financial irregularities.

The French newspaper Le Monde published some of the contents of these five Palmero notebooks this week. The revelations are putting the small but very rich principality in trouble at a time when it is trying to comply with the demands of Moneyval, the Council of Europe's anti-money laundering body. The organization will conduct a new assessment of the city-state in 2024, a key moment for its international image. In the year of his enthronement in 2005 – after the death of his father Raniero III. at the age of 81 in April of that year – Albert II had insisted on the importance of ethics in this area of ​​two square kilometers and 39,000 inhabitants. , is located on the Mediterranean coast of France.

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However, the information published by the French press points to a different direction. In his notebooks, Palmero carefully described the Monegasque family's expenses and the measures his 65-year-old “boss” Albert II demanded of him. The papers also contain his moods and conversations with the prince, who supported the operations or, following the opinion of his accountant at the time, put an end to them. Among the juiciest revelations, as published in Le Monde, is the ostentatious lifestyle of the monarch's wife, Princess Charlene, who turned 46 on January 25 and whom Alberto married in 2011. The former swimming champion, who represented South Africa at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, has two twins, Jacques and Gabriella, with the prince. When she was born in 2014, Alberto de Monaco was already the father of two other children from two previous relationships, whose paternity he only acknowledged years after the birth.

According to a study by a specialized website, the Princess of Monaco is one of the members of the European royal family who spends the most money on clothes and jewelry. According to Le Monde, the annual funding in 2023 was around 1.5 million euros. Nevertheless, Palmero noted in December 2019 that Charlene had spent “around 15 million euros” in the last eight years. The waste angers him, especially because he knows that the prince has increased his pocket money. “Care must be taken not to increase allocations too much in a crisis,” writes the accountant, who took office in 2001. In 2016, the prince's wife received 77,000 euros in cash. “That’s less than last year, but still too much,” he says. “Isn’t that a lot?” he also asks when Charlene asks to rent a second house on the French island of Corsica.

In his notebooks, Palmero points out some anomalies and refuses certain requests, such as that of a catamaran for Charlene or that of renovating his office for almost a million euros. In 2012, he emphasized that “His Most Serene Highness makes people work who are not well.” Several employees of the house are in an irregular situation, write the journalists Gérard Davet and Fabrice Lhomme, who have access to the documents and had interviewed the former manager on various occasions. This is the case of the babysitters whose visa, according to the accountant, was a tourist visa and had expired.

The exorbitant costs affect everyone. And the list is long. Charlene's brother Sean Wittstock receives 900,000 euros for his house. In 2007, Princess Estefanía, Albert II's younger sister, wanted to buy an apartment for 30 million euros, a price well above the market price, the now former manager warned at the time. Alberto's two children out of wedlock also claim her children. Alexandre Coste, the result of the relationship between the prince and the French-Togolese stewardess Nicole Coste, is insured against kidnapping. His mother receives 350,000 euros for a fashion store in London. Since his expenses are too high, Palmero suggests “writing a letter.” […] “Stop saying it,” reveals the French newspaper. Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, born from his affair with waitress Tamara Rotolo in 1991, was supposed to receive around 80,000 euros every three months.

The former accountant goes beyond simple administration. According to the investigation, since 2011 he has been the multiple owner of luxurious apartments in France, where several of the prince's nephews live, some of which were purchased through companies. “We can talk about the desire for discretion and minimizing tax risk,” he tells Le Monde, which wonders whether the French finance ministry has not been deprived of a significant inflow of funds. The prince's right arm also headed an alleged special fund that was endowed with almost 150,000 euros annually for “secret missions.” This included paying police officers to obtain information or recover photos that endanger the sovereign. Alberto's lawyer Jean-Michel Darrois rejects the information and assures that Palmero did not inform the Monegasque family about the system of real estate assets put in place. The prince also did not approve or have knowledge of any illegal funds, the lawyer said.

Alberto de Monaco wanted to disclose the information and accused his former accountant of managing the family's assets in complete opacity. He also claims that trust between the two has been broken and that his former right-hand man, appointed by his father Raniero III, is past retirement age. “This whole matter is about corruption, which I have been denouncing more and more forcefully for years,” Palmero, who succeeded his father as manager of the Grimaldi fortune, told reporters. The man who was the prince's confidant is now demanding one million euros from the palace. His dismissal opened Pandora's Box.