Four defendants accused of taking financial advantage of an old person in a fragile state of mind have been acquitted by Monaco Criminal Court.

A long-time friend of the alleged victim, 87 at the time and who has since died, was accused of asking for a substantial commission on the sale of a small apartment in the Panorama building, which the victim wanted to sell in order to have 500,000 euros on his bank account when his residence permit came up for renewal.

The ‘old friend,’ two real estate professionals and the purchaser, a property dealer, were alleged to have conspired to sell the property at a lower price than its value. A lawyer for the prosecution said the victim was unable to tell the difference between the value for euros and French francs and entrusted the sale to his friend of 30 years and the real estate professionals.

The sales price was 700,000 euros, whereas an identical apartment on the floor below sold for 1,350,000 euros, the court heard.

The prosecution had demanded one year in prison for each of the defendants, but after 41 days of deliberation the court acquitted them.