Members of the Public Security Service helped a number of Belgian nationals obtain residency permits illegally, the Public Prosecutor confirmed in a press statement on Monday.
The statement was issued in order to avoid the spread of information based on rumours, the Public Prosecutor’s office said.
A number of facts have come to light that taken together may constitute corruption and influence peddling, the office said, adding that Monaco’s Public Security Service was asked to investigate the facts on October 3.
“It soon became apparent that a former public security police official who had been in retirement for some years had made arrangements with a dozen members linked to the same Belgian family, all holding residence cards in Monaco. During his tenure with the Public Security Service and subsequently, this official, with the probable assistance of two other employees of the Public Security, (appears to) have favoured the issuance of fictitious residence titles to these persons for an agreed annual remuneration,” the office stated.
These persons retained the status of resident of the Principality without staying in Monaco, and continued to live in Belgium. Officially renting apartments, these people sublet their dwellings in a hidden way with the help of a real estate agency, which led to a belief in the legitimate occupation of the premises.
The Prosecutor General of the Principality, accompanied by the Chief of the Judicial Police, travelled to Brussels on October 21 to discuss the matter with counterparts from in the Federal Prosecutor’s Office.
The Belgian justice system is currently investigating the offences committed by its nationals.
In Monaco, an investigating judge was handed the file and instructed on the matter on October 28, and investigations have been opened for trafficking in influence, corruption, forgery and false use, breach of trust and money laundering.
Like all other states, Monaco is not immune to the corruption of some, the General Prosecutor’s Office said on Monday.
However, there is a real mixture of satisfaction mixed with consternation and sadness because the image of the Public Security will suffer from this situation, even if it is only a matter limited to a few titles of residence benefiting from a family of the European Union, the General Prosecutor’s Office added. The residency permits were awarded several years ago by officials now retired and who were, until now, considered to be above suspicion.
“Its state-of-the-art legislation allows it to pursue such cases and the Principality, in line with its international commitments, intends to combat this form of crime. The rule of law must prevail,” the Office said.