Global Policy Forum

Monaco Calls For New Ties With France

Associated Press
November 1, 2000

Prince Rainier lashed out at France for portraying Monaco as a safe haven for money launderers, saying in an interview published Tuesday that the tiny Mediterranean principality wanted to regain its full sovereignty. Prince Rainier, 77, was quoted in the French daily Le Figaro as saying the criticism constituted ''a deliberate effort to damage the image of Monaco.'' He also said Monaco was ready to dust off the treaties governing its relationship with France in order to regain full control over the Riviera territory.

Monaco, typically portrayed as a playground of the rich, has been criticized in a series of French reports this year for a lax attitude toward money laundering. French lawmakers recently called for a rapid rethinking of economic and legal relations with Monaco. Prince Rainier slammed the allegations. ''They are totally false,'' he was quoted as saying in Le Figaro. ''We reject them out of hand.'' ''These attacks have just one goal; to heap opprobrium on Monaco. It's unacceptable,'' he added. ''France must respect us. We are a sovereign state,'' he said. ''For too long, I believe, we have accepted that our sovereignty be limited. It is time to dust off the treaties that link us to France.''

A French Foreign Ministry spokesman, Francois Rivasseau, responded by emphasizing that ''trust and friendship'' had always characterized relations between France and Monaco, but that France continued to wait for the principality to pursue more stringent measures to combat money laundering. The relationship between Paris and Monaco is defined by a series of treaties. The main treaty dates from 1918 and defines France's role as one of ''friendly protection.'' But Prince Rainier said the treaty needed to be reworked. ''The principality needs to rediscover its full sovereignty,'' he was quoted as saying.

As an example of the changes he would like to see, he said he wanted to be able to choose his own prime minister rather than just accept the person proposed by Paris. The royal outburst is just the latest salvo in a war of words between Monaco and its neighbor over money laundering. In June, a French parliamentary report called Monaco ''one of the most hypocritical territories'' about money laundering matters. The report said Monaco had 10 times more bank accounts than residents and that 60 percent of the bank accounts opened belonged to nonresidents.

Monaco is a popular tax haven with celebrities, bankers and sports figures; its laws guarantee anonymity in banking transactions.

More Information on Tax Haven and Money Laundering


FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Global Policy Forum distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.