The Russian billionaire owner of Monaco football club, Dmitry Rybolovlev, has been placed under formal investigation in connection with a major fraud case.
It involves a Swiss art dealer from whom Mr Rybolovlev bought a series of masterpieces, triggering a long-running separate legal battle.
The investigation centres on claims that Mr Rybolovlev tried to influence senior Monaco officials.
Monaco’s former justice minister is among those investigated, reports say.
Under Monaco’s criminal system, which mirrors that in France, a suspect is placed under investigation by a magistrate, who then determines whether there is sufficient evidence to hold a trial.
Both Mr Rybolovlev and the former minister deny wrongdoing and no formal charges have been announced.
Monaco’s chief prosecutor Sylvie Petit-Leclair said on Wednesday that Mr Rybolovlev was suspected of influence peddling and bribery.
The prosecutor’s office told AFP news agency on Thursday that ex-justice minister Philippe Narmino was suspected of influence peddling and accepting bribes. He went into early retirement in 2017 as the case unfolded.
Originally published at BBC
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