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France

Polish diplomat admits 'involvement’ in murder of Monaco heiress

© Wikimedia commons

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-06-28

Poland’s honourary consul in Monaco has "recognised involvement” in the murder of his mother-in-law, one of the principality’s richest women, who was shot dead as she left hospital in nearby Nice last month.

Wojciech Janowski, 64, is married to the daughter of Monaco real estate heiress Helene Pastor, 77, who died last month from multiple gunshot wounds to the abdomen, neck and face after being shot leaving a hospital in the French Riviera city of Nice.

Janowski was arrested on Monday, when he was taken into custody by French police along with 22 others.

Janowski's 53-year-old wife Sylvia, Pastor's eldest daughter, was also detained for questioning but released on Thursday without charge.

The couple stood to inherit Pastor’s estimated €20 billion fortune.

Prosecutors had until the end of the day Friday to charge those detained or release them.

'Suspicious financial flows'

Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin told reporters Janowski “recognised involvement” in the murder of his mother-in-law.

He said earlier that police had identified two suspects alleged to have been hitmen hired to kill Pastor.

The two men -- a 31-year-old and a 24-year-old from Marseille's rough northern districts -- had been identified as being "present at the location of the killing".

They were identified thanks to surveillance cameras, mobile telephone records and traces of DNA found in a Nice hotel where they stayed on the day of the killing.

Police are also said to be investigating "suspicious financial flows" into Janowski's accounts.

Pastor had inherited a huge real estate and construction business set up by her Italian grandfather Jean-Baptiste Pastor, a stone mason who moved to Monaco in 1880.

As the sleepy principality in the French Riviera slowly grew into a playground for the world's rich and famous, the family's fortunes skyrocketed.

The real jackpot came in 1966 when Prince Rainier, whose fairytale wedding to Hollywood actress Grace Kelly helped catapult Monaco to international fame, gave permission to Helene Pastor's father Gildo to build high-rise buildings along the seafront.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2014-06-27

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