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Princess Camilla hands over £2 million court contempt fine in hunt for missing Gauguin picture

Princess Camilla of Bourbon des Deux Siciles has handed over £2 million to pay a fine for contempt of court.

If payment had not been met the Monte Carlo socialite would have gone to prison for 12 months.

However, a defiant Princess said she wants the money to be returned when she hopefully wins on appeal.


Princess Camilla said: “I am paying this fine today to meet the stringent demands of the court.

“Never, has a fine of such an amount been imposed on a private individual for a civil contempt in Jersey or in the United Kingdom”.

The Jersey Court heard the largest sum recorded for a civil contempt was £100,000.

She added: “I was convicted of contempt of court because when I was asked where my mother’s assets were, I said I didn’t know.

“This is the truth.

“By convicting me, the court reversed the burden of proof: how do you prove that you don’t know something?

“I will comply by the orders of the court but will continue to fight this unjust decision in both substance and form.”

Princess Camilla said she will continue to assert her legal rights in courts and tribunals in Monaco, France, and the United Kingdom.

She is appealing to the Privy Council and possibly the European Court of Human Rights.

She is claiming BNP Paribas – a trustee of the family trust – is in breach of its obligations.

If proven, the bank could be made to pay €330 million.

The action against Princess Camilla was brought by the French bank BNP – Paribas.

It recently agreed to pay $9 billion in a settlement with American prosecutors over allegations of sanctions’ violations.

As part of the deal the bank pleaded guilty to two criminal charges of breaking US sanctions against trade with Sudan, Iran, and Cuba – countries “complicit in crimes against humanity, genocide and acts of torture and barbarism”.

BNP was also accused of funding the genocide in Rwanda where one million people are thought to have died.

The settlement was the largest for such a case in American legal history.

US Attorney General Eric Holder said at the time:

“Between 2004 and 2012, BNP engaged in a complex and pervasive scheme to illegally move billions through the US financial system.

“It deliberately and repeatedly violated longstanding US sanctions.”

Princess Camilla said:

“Given its record one may wonder how BNP-Paribas may teach others lessons.”

Princess Camilla, a Monte Carlo socialite, has been caught up in a decade-long family dispute over £100 million transfered from a trust fund.

She was found guilty of contempt after claiming she did not know the whereabouts of the money and valuables – including a Gauguin picture worth £50 million.

The trust fund was set up by the Italian film star Edoarda Crociani for her daughters Princess Cristiana and Princess Camilla.

More than £100 million was transferred from the trust fund to Edoarda in 2010 – and Cristiana claimed the money was going to her sister.

She started legal proceedings.

The courts ordered Edoarda and BNP Jersey – both trustees – to rebuild the fund.

During the hearing Princess Camilla was asked to reveal the whereabouts of the Gauguin picture – known as the “Hina Maruru” – and other assets.

She said she did not know where the picture was.

The Crociani family fortune was created by Camillo Crociani when he founded Compagnia Italiana Servizi Tecnici (CISET) in 1970.

It specialized in civil and military air traffic management.

It was later bought by his widow Edoarda who made it a flagship of Italian industry.

In 1992, it merged with Vitroselenia, a company working in defence logistics since the 1960s, to become the highly innovative Vitrociset.

A cautious Edoarda created a trust fund to protect her fortune and that of her then teenage daughters Cristiana and Camilla.

Edoarda ensured there was protection of the family heritage and the interests of the underage girls be put in place.

With advice from leading specialists the trust moved from the Bahamas then to Guernsey before finally landing in Jersey.

It was managed by Paribas which later became BNP Paribas.

BNP Jersey managed the trust while the assets are on the books of BNP Switzerland.

Overall, the complex trust was closely supervised by the parent company BNP in Paris.

Fearing exposure to its role in 2005 it is alleged BNP developed a strategy more favourable to itself.

It is claimed BNP used Jersey tax laws to break the strict rules of the trust and lead Edoarda to restructure the fund.

The family claims the BNP focus only favoured the bank and excluded the two girls.

In 2013, Cristiana took legal action in Jersey against BNP and her mother.

After four years of proceedings, during which Ms. Crociani said she began to discover BNP’s double game, the Jersey court ended up criticizing BNP.

And it ordered Edoarda to reconstitute the trust to the tune of €200 million.

Edoarda said afterwards it was a “completely mind-blowing judgment!”

The court said that Ms. Crociani knew the implications of the restructuring carried out by BNP – an allegation she has always denied.



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