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Monaco murder: Son-in-law retracts confession

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Monaco murder: Son-in-law retracts confession
Wojciech Janowski, the son-in-law of the 77-year-old heiress Hélène Pastor, seen here leaving a police station in Nice. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP
09:21 CEST+02:00
The son-in-law of a Monaco heiress gunned down in a Mafia-style killing has retracted his confession to ordering the shooting, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

The son-in-law of a Monaco heiress gunned down in a Mafia-style killing has retracted his confession to ordering the shooting, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

Appearing before a bail judge, Wojciech Janowski "retracted his statements made while in custody" and "denies having ordered" the killing in May of 77-year-old Hélène Pastor, lawyer Erick Campana said.

Prosecutors said last week that Janowski, a 64-year-old who had served as Poland's honorary consul in Monaco, confessed to masterminding the killing of his partner Sylvia's billionaire mother.

But Campana said Janowski had "misunderstood the meanings of the terms used by police and was speaking in French while he does not understand all the nuances of our language."

Janowski was arrested early last week by police investigating the shooting of Pastor multiple times with a sawn-off shotgun as she was leaving a hospital in the French Riviera city of Nice.

Her driver, Mohammed Darwich, 64, also died from injuries sustained in the May 6th attack.

Janowski was charged after prosecutors said he confessed to the contract killing, for which he allegedly spent some €250,000 ($340,000) to hire two contract killers, both of whom have been apprehended and charged.

Campana said he would demand an appeal court nullify Janowski's detention - and statements made while in custody - because he did not have access to a lawyer or interpreter during his 96 hours in custody.

The judge nonetheless confirmed that Janowski must remain in custody pending trial.

Hélène 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.

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