Daughter of Monaco heiress arrested over assassination

Jun 24, 2014

Sylvia Pastor and her husband suspected of ordering Mafia-style hit on her 77-year-old mother


The daughter of a billionaire Monaco heiress assassinated outside a hospital in Nice last month has been arrested in connection with her mother's murder. 

Helene Pastor, a 77-year-old wealthy property owner with close links to the Monaco royal family, was shot on 6 May after visiting her son who had suffered a stroke. She was hospitalised with face, neck, chest and abdomen wounds and died a fortnight later.

Mohamed Darwich, Pastor's 64-year-old chauffeur and butler for the past two decades, also died from injuries sustained in the attack. A gunman with a hunting rifle and sawn-off shotgun opened fire twice on Pastor's car before escaping with the help of an accomplice.

Police arrested 19 suspects yesterday in raids in Nice, Marseille and Rennes, including Pastor's daughter Sylvia, 53, and her husband Wojciech Janowski, 65, reports The Guardian.

Janowski, a Cambridge graduate who has been Poland's Honorary Consul in Monaco since 2007, is suspected of masterminding his mother-in-law's murder, police sources have told the French media.

Investigators initially suspected two of Italy's most notorious crime syndicates, the 'Ndrangheta and the Camorra, of carrying out the double assassination. Both crime gangs are said to be building property portfolios on the French Riviera, where the Pastor family owns buildings worth billions of euros. A French judge opened an official inquiry into the "attempted murder and assassination by an organised group".

However, police later had their doubts that the assassination was carried out by professionals given that the attacker and the accomplice arrived in a taxi, did not wear masks, were filmed by security cameras and used buckshot instead of military bullets.

Pastor, nicknamed "the vice-princess" because of her closeness to the Monaco royals, inherited a huge real estate and construction business set up by her Italian grandfather Jean-Baptiste Pastor. The value of the properties escalated when Prince Rainier, Monaco's late ruler and Grace Kelly’s husband, turned the principality into a tax haven for the rich.

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