Monaco dismissed French investigating judge charged with Rybolovlev case

The Union of Magistrates denounces a "fact of the prince" in the micro-state, where magistrates are seconded by the French justice.

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Questions arise about how the Principality of Monaco decided to send a French magistrate who was seconded to France to France. The investigating judge Edouard Levrault, who arrived on the Rock three years ago, was in charge of the ultra-sensitive judicial information in which he notably indicted Dmitri Rybolovlev, the Russian billionaire who owns the Monaco football club, as well as personalities close to local power.

Appointed for a term of three years, the French magistrates posted in the principality may, in accordance with the 2005 convention signed between France and the princely state, be renewed, or not, for a period of three years. Mr. Levrault had obtained the French side's green light for its renewal. But he was informed at the beginning of the summer by Laurent Anselmi, the director of the judicial services of Monaco, in charge of the penal policy, that he should make his bags at the 1st September. Despite the appeal lodged by the magistrate against this decision before the Supreme Court, the highest court in Monaco, France took note of the non-renewal and chose to appoint him to the court of Nice, as revealed by the website of The Obs.

"Damaged the criminal justice system"

In Monaco, it is said that this is in no way a challenge to the independence of judges or sidelining a magistrate whose investigation displeased. "The non-renewal of a detached magistrate is a sovereign right of the principality"explains to World a source close to the princely government. Why did it come to Mr. Levrault and not to the other five French magistrates whose detachment was renewed this summer? "The prince and the government want justice to be fair, even in the Rybolovlev case, but Mr Levrault's attitude has undermined the criminal justice system and he has not released anything in this case in three years while his other files were not advancing either ", says this source.

That the executive power decides to discharge a judge based on the actions he or she does or not in the content of its records does not seem to bother anyone. With the exception of the Council of Europe's Group of States against Corruption, which recommended in its last evaluation report of the Principality in July 2017, "To ensure transparency in the appointment of judges and prosecutors in Monaco, whether seconded or not (…) including for renewals and anticipated purposes of secondment ". The majority of magistrates in post in this micro-State are detached French.


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