France identifies suspects in killing of Monaco heiress

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - 22:21

Paris: French prosecutors said Tuesday they had identified two suspects present at the killing last month of a 77-year-old heiress from one of Monaco`s richest families.

Twenty-three people were arrested on Monday and were being held for questioning in the case, which saw heiress Helene Pastor shot multiple times 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 attack.

Among those detained were Pastor`s daughter Sylvia and her husband Wojciech Janowski, Poland`s honourary consul in Monaco.

Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said police were also investigating "suspicious financial flows" in Janowski`s accounts.

He said two of the men being held -- 31-year-old Alhair Hamadi and 24-year-old Samine Said Ahmed -- 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 May 6, the day of the killing.

Significant amounts of cash were later found in the possession of the two men.

No further details were released about the possibility of any links between the two men, Janowski and two other detained individuals who officials said may have acted as intermediaries.

The suspects can be held for up to 96 hours without charge.

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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First Published: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - 22:21

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