The death of Olivier Dassault in a helicopter accident on Sunday evening has resulted in Monaco losing “a great friend,” President of the National Council Stéphane Valeri said on Monday.

Olivier Dassault represented Oise in the French National Assembly and was an influential figure in France. Dassault was the son of industrialist Serge Dassault, whose group builds Rafale war planes and owns Le Figaro newspaper.

Mr Dassault was President of the France Monaco Friendship Group in the National Assembly and had led an inter-parliamentary delegation to the Principality in 2018.

More recently, he had campaigned for Monaco residents to be allowed to travel in France.

“We were close and regularly in contact. I am particularly moved and sad. Monaco lost a great friend. I address his family, in my name and on behalf of all elected officials of the National Council, our most sad thoughts and our very sincere condolences.”

Olivier Dassault had spoken of the Franco Monegasque relationship as a positive balance: “It is in the best interest of France to preserve the existence and independence of the Principality. The peoples of the Mediterranean often speak of their community of destiny. I think this expression is very true to describe the relationship between France and Monaco.”

“Olivier Dassault loved France. Captain of industry, lawmaker, local elected official, reserve commander in the air force: during his life, he never ceased to serve our country, to value its assets. His sudden death is a great loss,” President Macron said on Twitter.

PHOTO: Olivier Dassault with Stéphane Valeri