Aristocrat sues France for $401M for tricking him out of throne
Heâs a count without a kingdom.
An aristocrat claims he was tricked out of the throne to Monaco by the French governmentâs âsleight of handâ â" and is asking for $401 million in damages for the snub.
âI want the truth to come out and this injustice perpetrated by France on my family to be put right,â Count Louis de Causans told French newspaper Le Parisien. âItâs a matter of honor.â
De Causans, 44, says that in a bout of âtrickeryâ early 20th Century France changed the rules of succession in order to retain control over the Mediterranean municipality and thwart German claims to Monacoâs throne.
âIn reality, my cousin Prince Albert acceded to the throne by a sleight of hand,â de Causans said, referring to Monacoâs current ruler, Prince Albert II.
The so-called subterfuge dates back to the eve of World War I when Prince Louis II ruled the tiny city-state.
Since he didnât have any heirs, the second branch of the Grimaldi family â" namely de Causansâ ancestor a German nobleman named Duke Wilhelm II â" should have taken the throne.
Instead, France passed a law in 1911, allowing Prince Louis IIâs illegitimate daughter Charlotte to become adopted, solving the succession issue. She was the daughter of the rulerâs lover, a cabaret singer named Marie-Juliette Louvet.
âA German reign over Monaco, on the eve of the First World War was simply unacceptable for France,â said the countâs lawyer, Jean-Marc DescoubÃ¨s.
De Causans says this âbizarreâ rule change meant Monacoâs throne passed on to a child âwho had no connection to the royal family.â
The count, who was born in France and lives in Paris, claims he was duped out of receiving any of Monacoâs revenue by Franceâs decades-old scam.
âHis fortune would be out of proportion with what it is today ,â DescoubÃ¨s said of his client.
The $401 million claim was calculated based on his age and the Grimaldiâs fortune, he said. Monacoâs current ruler is worth $1 billion.
Asked why it had taken him so long to come forward with his claim, the count said the late Prince Rainier III â" Albertâs predecessor â" had âblocked everythingâ during his reign.
His lawyer told the BBC that he asked the French Foreign Ministry to pay the damages on July 2 and that they have two months to accept or reject the request.
âIf the government refuses we will sue it in court,â he said.Source: Google News France | Netizen 24 France