In a wide-ranging and frank interview with the Financial Times, HSH Prince Albert spoke about several topics, from Russian residents to transparency to environmental concerns.
“I’ve been trying to boost the attractiveness of Monaco since I took over from my father. I can’t face Monaco appearing on any black or grey list.”
Prince Albert signed a tax transparency agreement with the EU in 2018, enabling the sharing of banking information with the European Union. “We put together a plan with the finance department. Any financial institution has to comply with those rules and regulations. It took a while, of course,” he said.
Asked about Monaco’s 749 Russian residents, Prince Albert said that only a handful appeared on the list of oligarchs facing sanction. “And of course they were dealt with. Those who had bank accounts here, they have been frozen.”
The Prince also pointed out that Alisher Usmanov’s helicopters were seized.
“Everyone seems to focus on us because of our Russian residents. Many more have homes along the Côte d’Azur. There are a lot of them in the UK, too,” he said. “In the past, it was seen as OK to accept Russian money. The focus is… to try to attract other nationalities.”
The Sovereign added that the war in Ukraine has moved the focus and spending away from environmental concerns and into defence. He told the FT: It’s to the detriment of sustainable growth in clean energy.”
The FT comments that the Prince’s challenges seem to be a series of balancing acts, marrying Monaco’s expansion with his environmental concerns and not harming the country’s appeal to the super-rich, while boosting transparency.
He said that the aim is to balance and create a good mix as possible “for our residents and for Monegasques” and to be able to live peacefully. He said that managing to have 139 nationalities live peacefully on two square kilometres suggests that Monaco has been pretty successful.
FULL INTERVIEW: https://www.ft.com/content/ba02345e-fd33-4427-ae79-1285e84b97e4. (Paywall)
PHOTO: HSH Prince Albert in Palace gardens © Gaetan LUCI Palais Princier