The Crémaillère building plot continues to be at the epicentre of intrigue in Monaco thanks to an exhaustive four-part investigation by the local French-language daily.

The long-neglected building site on the Principality’s border has been embroiled in disputes and controversy for many years, but recent developments suggest that these could become unblocked thanks to the purchase of the land by Monaco interests in a deal dating to 2021, Monaco Matin reported.

The saga is long and complicated, of course, spanning almost 20 years,and two familiar figures feature prominently: Mr Beausoleil, the town’s Mayor Gerard Spinelli on one hand, and the former operational chief of HSH Prince Albert’s property portfolio, Claude Palmero, on the other.

As he had fronted for higher powers in a multitude of previous transactions, Claude Palmero reportedly bought the derelict building site just over the border for the sum of 67.5 million euros, which given its size and prominence is not a very large sum of money for a parcel that covers 7,000 square metres.

Mr Palmero claims to have bought the site on behalf of the Principality following the withdrawal of a building permit awarded to an earlier would-be developer.

According to the Prince’s disgraced accountant, he exchanged a score of text messages on the purchase of the land with the Minister of State and 46 with the Prince himself, identified as for the purpose as Trebla.

Palmero said he wanted to act quickly to buy the land, and was frustrated by the slowness of the Monegasque administration.

The situation now is that the earlier would-be developer claims he was previously told that the original building permit was still valid and had not lapsed. After the permit dematerialised, OMC, the company involved, won an appeal against its loss in June 2023, incidentally the same month in which Palmero lost his long-term post as eminence grise.

The US-besed entity had been willing to pay 87 million euros for the cursed plot. What legal remedies it is considering are unknown, but further legal proceedings are almost certain.

One way or another, before the dust settles and the first earth-movers arrive, whenever that happens, Beausoleil is likely to be out of pocket by at least 20 million euros. And the plot will stay as a blot on the landscape for years to come.

PHOTO: Ian Brodie