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CRIME

Monaco heiress relative admits role in her murder

The son-in-law of a murdered heiress, one of the richest in Monaco, has admitted to being involved in the brazen daytime attack in which she was killed. Suspicious bank transactions allegedly drew investigations' attention to the suspect.

Monaco heiress relative admits role in her murder
A wealthy Monaco heiress's son-in-law has admitted a role in her murder. Photo: AFP

The son-in-law of the 77-year-old heiress of one of Monaco's richest families has admitted to involvement in her murder last month, Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin told AFP on Friday.

Wojciech Janowski, a 64-year-old who is also Poland's honorary consul in Monaco, "recognised his involvement" in the killing of Helene Pastor while in detention this week, Robin said.

He said more details would be revealed at a press conference in Marseille at 5pm.

Janowski has been in custody since Monday, when he was arrested along with 22 others by police investigating the shooting of Pastor multiple times as she was leaving a hospital in the French Riviera city of Nice on May 6.

Her driver, Mohammed Darwich, 64, also died from injuries sustained in the attack.

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

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

Robin 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" in 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 fortune 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.

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CRIME

Frenchman extradited to US on hacking charges pleads not guilty

Frenchman Sebastien Raoult pleaded not guilty to cybercrimes Friday in Seattle federal court, two days after he was extradited from Morocco.

Frenchman extradited to US on hacking charges pleads not guilty

Federal Judge Michelle Peterson told the 21-year-old Raoult that he was charged with nine counts, including conspiracy, computer intrusion, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Raoult listened through an interpreter.

After Raoult’s plea of not guilty, the judge ordered him to be detained as a flight risk until a hearing April 3.

Moroccan authorities arrested Raoult at Rabat airport May 31 at the request of the US Department of Justice. Along with Raoult, two other French nationals were also arrested, Gabriel Bildstein, 23, and Abdel-Hakim El-Ahmadi, 22.

According to Raoult’s indictment, he and the other two men are alleged to have formed a hacking team, dubbed “ShinyHunters,” to steal confidential data from 60 companies to sell on the dark web where criminals routinely operate.

Some of the companies are located in the Seattle area.

According to experts, beginning in 2020, the hackers stole customer data from the Indonesian e-commerce site Tokopedia, the US clothing brand Bonobos, the US telecom AT&T and many other companies, putting the personal data for sale on the dark web.

The criminal charges carry a possible jail term of up to 27 years in prison.

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