Prince Albert of Monaco fights against the corruption scandal and the ‘exile’ of his wife Charlene

Prince Albert II of Monaco’s title is His Serene Highness, but life inside his pink palace on a rock overlooking the Mediterranean has proven anything but this summer.

Indeed, the principality of Monaco is under fire from within as Albert fights a series of corruption allegations brought by a Wikileaks-like website, while also fighting to prove that his marriage to Princess Charlene is alive, despite of the general reports. she that she lives in exile in Switzerland and that she only sees him “by appointment.”

The extraordinary twin crises threaten the future of the 65-year-old prince and the Grimaldi family’s nearly eight centuries of rule over the world’s second-smallest state; Only the Vatican is smaller.

Charlene and Albert share 8-year-old twins, Gabriella and Jacques. Jacques, the older twin, is the heir to the Grimaldi throne. Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Albert and Charlene in MoancoWhen claims emerged that she lives in “exile” and sees Albert only by appointment, Charlene took part in an awkward show of unity in Corsica. Monaco’s skeptics were not calmed by the photographs.MEGA

Monaco’s 39,050 residents (just under 7,000 are citizens) live in the richest three-quarters of a square mile in the world, look out over a sea filled with superyachts, pay no income taxes and can spend their free time in some of the most expensive shops and restaurants in the world.

But inside the Grimaldi’s former palace, located on what locals call “Le Rocher” (The Rock), the mood is somber.

For almost two years, a mysterious online site called “Les Dossiers du Rocher” (the Rock files) has exposed what it claims are the corrupting secrets of Albert’s inner circle.

The site has accused Albert’s powerful and veteran personal wealth manager, Claude Palmero; his chief of staff, Laurent Anselmi; his lawyer and childhood friend Thierry Lacoste; and the president of the Supreme Court of Monaco, Didier Linotte, of fraud, cronyism and corruption, as well as undue influence on Monaco’s wealthy property and real estate market.

A photo of Claude Palmero and Didier Linotte.“Les Dossiers” names Claude Palmero (left), personal administrator of Albert’s estate for more than 22 years, as one of those involved in the corruption. Among others, Didier Linotte (right), president of the Supreme Court, is named.

Self-serving claims have involved large sums of cash.

The “Dossiers” alleged that in just one case Lacoste was paid $640,000 for “legal advice” in a case in which a developer won a $163 million court judgment.

The sentence was handed down by Linotte, a close friend of Lacoste and Albert, in the Supreme Court.

A photo of Laurent Anselmi and Thierry Lacoste.Albert’s chief of staff, Laurent Anselmi (left), and his lawyer and childhood friend, Thierry Lacoste, complete what the French media have dubbed the “G-4.”

The “G-4”, or “Club of 4”, as they are called by the French media, denied the corruption allegations. But after police reportedly searched each of his homes in July and seized many of Palmero’s documents and his cellphone, Palmero and Anselmi resigned.

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Lacoste is reportedly no longer acting as the prince’s lawyer.

There are fears in Alberto’s circle that some or all of the four could turn against the prince.

Palermo is already suing him, while Lacoste’s knowledge of family secrets goes back decades; Her father was Grace Kelly’s press secretary when she became Princess Grace.

A photo of Monaco.The principality of Monaco is located between France and Italy. Smaller than New York’s Central Park, it is dominated by “The Rock”, whose pink palace is the home of the Grimaldi royal family. Shutterstock
A photo from Rock's file.A data dump involving hacked information about Albert’s inner circle was released in the fall of 2021. It is called “Dossiers du Rocher”, but its Wikileaks-style consequences have plunged his court into a crisis.

What is worrying for all concerned is that the French police have intervened and raided the houses that the four owned on the outskirts of Monaco.

Monaco has long enforced its own code of secrecy, leading to the old joke that it is a sunny place for gloomy people.

The mysterious leaks have started a guessing game as to who might be behind them.

Some in the principality think the “Dossiers du Rocher” may involve Monaco billionaire property magnate Patrice Pastor, 49, whose father was the principality’s biggest property developer but who has often clashed with Albert and his inner circle over real estate agreements.

A family photo of Prince Rainier.A young Albert with his father Prince Rainier, his mother Grace Kelly and his sisters Caroline and Stephanie.SSPL via Getty Images

Meanwhile, Albert has been forced to make a very public attempt to regain trust.

“When trust is broken and there are no clear answers to the questions that are asked, decisions have to be made,” Albert told Le Figaro in July.

“The “Dossiers” brought to light, through the Internet, certain activities of people who worked with me. As I said: if trust is broken, it is impossible to continue working together.”

Robert Eringer, who worked for Albert as an intelligence adviser from 2002 to 2007, told The Post that the monarch had tried to convince the public that he was unaware of the corruption, but said that Alberto had in fact been warned.

A photo of the prince and princess of Monaco.Albert and his wife, Princess Charlene, shared an awkward hug after the prince flew to see her in South Africa in August 2021. Instagram/Princess Charlene

“He knew it from the beginning,” said Eringer, who later fought Albert after he was sacked from the palace and has blogged about him ever since. “He knew because I was there investigating (some of) these guys and I told him.

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“I said, ‘It’s ridiculous what’s happening here. You can’t let your old friends from when you were a kid rule here. They are going to ruin this country and its legacy will be severely damaged. And that is exactly what has happened. He didn’t stop it.”

A resident of Monaco for 40 years told The Post that Albert was “genuine” in wanting to fix Monaco’s reputation for corruption when he succeeded his father, Prince Rainier, to the throne in 2005, but added: “Reality soon set in.” made present and, of course, his personal behavior. he had seriously compromised it.”

Robert EringerRobert Eringer was Albert’s intelligence adviser from 2002 to 2007 and said he warned him about corruption in his inner circle.

The resident also alluded to long-held beliefs that the power of corrupt groups is too great to stop. “He Just look at what happened to his brother-in-law.” Princess Caroline’s 30-year-old husband, Stefano Casiraghi, died in a speedboat accident off Monaco in 1990 that many at the time considered suspicious.

A crisis would be enough for any monarchy, but Albert has had to launch a second public relations campaign in recent days to convince the world that his 12-year marriage to Princess Charlene, 45-year-old former Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock , It has not finished.

French outlet Voici reported that Charlene had moved out of the palace, was living in Switzerland and only saw her husband by appointment.

Then her Instagram account, which had 464,000 followers and 96 posts, was deactivated, which only fueled the belief that they had broken up.

A photo of Princess Charlene.Princess Charlene at the funeral of her friend King Goodwill Zwelithini in South Africa in 2021.POOL/AFP via Getty Images
A photo of Princess Charlene.Princess Charlene shaved part of her head before this Christmas event in Monaco in 2020. POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Albert’s marriage has been the subject of rumors since Charlene reportedly fled the palace before their wedding in 2011, only to return and cry during the nuptials.

The gossip intensified in 2021 when Charlene went to South Africa for what turned out to be a stay of months; Albert said that Charlene’s long stay in South Africa was solely for medical reasons.

“She didn’t leave Monaco angry! She didn’t leave because she was mad at me or someone else…she didn’t go into exile. It was absolutely just a medical issue that had to be dealt with,” she said.

However, when Charlene returned to Monaco, it lasted only a few days before Albert said he was “not feeling well” and she left for treatment at a Swiss facility. Since then her returns have been sporadic.

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A photo of Prince Albert and Princess Charlene.Albert married former Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock in July 2011 at his palace in Monaco: the civil ceremony in the throne room, followed by a religious ceremony in the courtyard. Charlene cried during part of her wedding. Getty Images
Charlene and Albert in formal wearCharlene and Albert have long faced questions about the nature of their marriage. Corbis via Getty Images

Following claims she was living in self-imposed exile, the couple were photographed on the beach in Corsica last month.

If it was about proving that they were still a couple, it didn’t convince the skeptics.

Charlene wore a wetsuit on the beach despite the sweltering temperatures, awkwardly sitting in a beach chair next to her husband, while their 8-year-old twins, Jacques and Gabriella, played.

It has long been speculated that some of Charlene’s problems stem from Albert’s womanizing past.

He has two illegitimate children. Jazmin Grimaldi, 31, was the product of a brief romance with Tamara Rotolo. Alexandre Coste, 20, was born after his affair with Nicole Coste, a former Air France stewardess from Tonga.

Last week Albert celebrated his son’s birthday with his mother and half sister.

Prince Albert, his ex-lover and their two beloved children celebrating.Albert, his former lover Nicole Coste (right), daughter Jazmin Grimaldi (second from left) and son Alexandre Coste (third from right) celebrated Alexandre’s 20th birthday last month. instagram

A key public test of Albert’s marriage to Charlene will take place in a few days.

The two are scheduled to travel to Sun City, in their native South Africa, on September 13 to launch a water bike race, inspired by a similar event held off Monaco, to raise funds for water safety.

It is unclear what will happen next with Albert’s marriage and his fight to save his reputation. The Monaco Palace press office did not reply to an email from The Post.

“All bets are off for her (Princess Charlene),” a source who has lived in the principality for 30 years and remembers sailing with a cigarette-smoking Wittstock off Monaco when she was engaged to Albert told The Post.

Prince Albert II and his daughter Jazmin, 31, in 2020.Albert and his daughter Jazmin, 31, in 2020.WireImage

“He is a difficult person to read. No one really knows what happened to her. She may hate Monaco, but she could still make a deal and go live in Paris and see her children. Everybody thinks there’s something else going on.”

No one, including Eringer, believes Albert will ever abdicate ruling Monaco, nor do many believe a royal divorce is in the cards for him and Princess Charlene.

One Monaco resident told The Post that she believes the couple “will just continue to limp along. Monaco is a machine that no one is going to turn off.”

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