AFP: Judge Levrault will be removed from Rybolovlev’s case in Monaco
Moreover, in April, his trip to Monaco was extended.
The French judge Edouard Levrault, who is leading the case on suspicion of corruption and pressure on the investigative authorities, which defendant is Russian businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev, will be removed from the investigation. Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported this on Wednesday quoting information received from the French Union of Judge. According to the laws of Monaco, judges from neighboring France handle the judiciary.
“In April of this year, Levrault was informed that there was a positive opinion regarding the extension of his business trip to Monaco, but now he learned that the authorities of the principality did not send a request for such an extension. This makes one wonder what is happening, in particular regarding the independence of the principality’s judiciary," AFP told the representative of the French trade union. At the same time, AFP notes that in 2018, the Monaco authorities introduced a faster rotation of French judges, limiting their tenure in the principality to three years. Then it caused dissatisfaction.
In the same year of 2018, Head of the Legal Services Department (acting as Minister of Justice) Laurent Anselmi assured answering questions regarding the further work of Judge Levrault that "he will have time to complete the investigation before the change in his post." Now, the Government of Monaco states "all the ongoing cases will be transferred to the appointed judges, who, like their predecessors, will have all the capabilities to ensure that their missions are carried out under conditions of independence."
In February 2015, the Monaco police at the claim of Rybolovlev detained Swiss entrepreneur and art-dealer Yves Bouvier. The Swiss was charged with fraud on a large scale, as well as money laundering. Rybolovlev blamed Bouvier that he unreasonably overpriced the prices of 37 paintings sold to him, due to which the Russian lost about 1 billion euros. Bouvier soon accused Rybolovlev of colluding with the justice of Monaco.