Monaco is a rogue state, says France

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The Independent Online

Monaco is a rogue state that connives in laundering drug and mafia money, under French protection, a French parliamentary investigation concluded yesterday.

Monaco is a rogue state that connives in laundering drug and mafia money, under French protection, a French parliamentary investigation concluded yesterday.

Although the accusation is not new, the severity of the language and the official nature of the inquiry will be deeply embarrassing to the authorities in Monaco and France.

The report accuses the tiny principality, surrounded by France and the Mediterranean, of having no proper system of banking ethics, of allowing its celebrated casino to run out of control and refusing all serious co-operation with international efforts to control suspect flows of capital. Monaco is "conducive to" and "complicit in" money laundering, the report said.

The parliamentary committee suggests France, which provides almost all senior officials in Monaco, including the chief minister, is partly responsible for this situation.

The committee calls on the French government to scrap all its fiscal and judicial arrangements with the Mediterranean statelet, negotiated in 1963.

Monaco, which measures one mile long and a quarter of a mile wide, has 6,000 registered companies. Many are "managed by British citizens ... and set-up in territories under British law, such as the Bahamas or the Cayman Islands", the report says. Large sums pass in and out, and judicial authorities in Monaco have no right to seek information.

The Monaco authorities refused to comment yesterday until they had studied the report in detail. But the conclusions were accepted unanimously by left-of-centre members of parliament. The neo-Gaullist RPR, the party founded by President Jacques Chirac, rejected them, saying the report would "poison diplomatic relations" between Monaco and France.

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