A man in his fifties has been sentenced to jail in Monaco for bank fraud and money laundering. His offences involved cleaning four million euros through banks in Monaco, hiding the transactions behind a curtain of property sales in which part of the purchase price was paid in cash to hide it from the tax authorities.

The Croatian national opened accounts in banks in the Principality over a ten-year between 2001 and 2011, the Monaco Criminal Court was told. The authorities grew suspicious when large amounts of money were withdrawn in cash. Much of the money was spent on gambling in casinos, local French daily Monaco Matin reported.

Questioned by Monaco investigators, the suspect was unable to explain the source of his income and his spending on luxury cars. In court, his lawyer admitted that his client, who has a string of fraud convictions in Italy, was “not a choir boy.” However, he had spent three months in jail on remand and had paid 100,000 euros.

The defendant was not present at the hearing, due to the fact that he is awaiting trial in Croatia for similar offences, but was represented by his lawyer, Me Yann Lajoux. The prosecuting counsel said that the individual had come to Monaco to launder money and to tarnish the reputation of the Principality.

The defendant was sentenced to three years in jail and the confiscation of the contents of the three bank accounts.