Real estate mogul Patrice Pastor has sold a five-percent stake in Monaco’s Société des bains de mer, Monaco’s biggest hospitality operator, Casino operator, and the Principality’s largest employer, it emerged during the past week. ‘PP’ as he’s known to his many detractors is Monaco’s most important property developer, whose projects have included the Mareterra land reclamation project at Portier.

Pastor has also been accused of being ‘the crow’ behind a digital campaign called the Dossiers du Rocher (The Monaco Files) – which he strongly denies – that alleges serious wrongdoing on the part of several close advisers to the Palace. A number of French TV channels have followed the case with enthusiasm, causing some embarrassment in the Principality.

At the centre of PP’s discontent is the award to a rival development company of the huge Fisherman’s Wharf (Esplanade des Pecheurs) project, which was won by the Caroli Group.

Also during the past week two top officials targeted by the Monaco Files – known as the G4 – were removed from office suddenly.

Shortly after Pastor’s sale of his five-percent stake, Aaron Frenkel bought five percent of SBM to add to his existing two-percent holding. Mr Frenkel is a leading Israeli businessman and philanthropist who lives in Monaco and presides over the Monaco Jewish community. He is a holder of the Chevalier de l’ordre de Grimaldi Medal of Honour as well as orders in Russia and in France.

Another significant shareholder in SBM is France’s richest man, Bernard Arnault, CEO of the LVMH Group. Mr Arnault has been in talks with SBM in recent months as the two companies explore possible avenues of cooperation. A number of LVMH brands have been assigned boutique spaces in the new Cafe de Paris development.

Mr Arnault is the father-in-law of Xavier Niel, who owns 100 percent of Monaco Matin and 55 percent of Monaco Telecom. Mr Arnault holds a five-percent stake in Société des bains de mer. The Monaco state owns 60 percent of SBM.

SBM shares rose 3.37 percent in trading on the Paris bourse on Friday, June 9, and are up 26.77 percent so far this year.

In related news, the head of Prince Albert’s Cabinet, Laurent Anselmi, stepped down last week.

PHOTO: Screengrab of Patrice Pastor from French TV programme Complément d’Enquête