Almost everyone is now aware that Moneyval, as it calls itself, an inquisitional arm of the Council of Europe, recently issued a very poor school report for Monaco, saying that not enough has been done to guard against money-laundering, fraud, and the financing of terrorism. One media outlet called the report ‘withering’ in its criticisms.
As a result, a special action force has been established by Monaco’s Government to try to hurry everyone along – with committee meetings held more often – to make sure that Moneyval is more impressed at the end of term and ahead of the summer exams.
However, there is a problem. Moneyval is not satisfied that banks in Monaco already need to investigate transfers in or out of accounts and satisfy themselves, and therefore others, that nothing fraudulent is going on, and certainly no financing of terrorism.
No, no. Moneyval is also interested in Monaco’s high-end shops, particularly jewellers, and has said that not enough has been achieved in this subject.
The problem is that Moneyval doesn’t spell out in detail the sort of ‘safeguards and controls’ it would care to see adopted. It’s as if the school’s history curriculum spanned the last three thousand years, with detailed questions asked about what historical figures ate for breakfast, with kings and despots apparently chosen at random.
It is a very alarming situation.
Furthermore, the most iconic institution that Monaco has is also under threat. The Casino.
To say that the Casino has done Monaco proud over the years would be a serious understatement. I don’t gamble – not with money – but for me the Casino is wonderfully romantic. I don’t pop in very often, but it’s just… splendid. The restaurant is out of this world. But Moneyval would like to see things change.
James Bond will be expected to prove that the chips he buys are funded by his employer, who is, of course, His Majesty’s Secret Service. That would let the cat out of the bag. Likewise, the billionaire daughters of Central Asian dictators would be similarly obliged to make a declaration or two. This would not be good for business.
One of the great allures of Monte-Carlo is that certain edginess it has. Taking that away in the name of checking on everyone’s tax status would be disastrous.
In the meantime, I have had to use my new HP printer to scan a document. However, there is no scan button. The HP website told me that in order to scan a piece of paper or whatever, I would need to download an App. I loathe Apps, most of them are a very tedious waste of time. But they are also very dangerous, since in order to have the App that would graciously allow me to scan my passport I had to proceed through 18 stages, at the end of which HP knew everything about me.
I suspect Moneyval had a hand in that too. It is ubiquitous and also everywhere.
Monte-Carlo Diary is published in the interests of diversity, and any views expressed or implied do not necessarily reflect those of the publishers.
PHOTO: Monaco’s glorious Casino. Courtesy SBM