Marilyn Z Tomlins
Hélène Pastor ? Wojciech Janowski ? Monaco?
Who among us ‘9 to 5’ folk working to have food on our table have ever heard these names?
Monaco, yes, we have all heard of Monaco: the 0.78 sq miles (2.02 sq km) tax-free paradise nestling between France and the Mediterranean. Yes indeed we have heard of this principality ruled at present by Prince Albert (56), and before him by his father Prince Rainier (1923-2005) who was married to the former Hollywood movie star, Grace Kelly (1929-1982) and parents of the two princesses Caroline and Stephanie.
Yes, sure we have, because we imagine that living in Monaco – Monte Carlo its principal and only city – must be wonderful.
It is. I’ve spent vacations there: or rather on vacations in the nearby French towns of Menton and Nice, I used to make day-trips to Monte Carlo, and I can assure you that seeing a traffic pile-up of Maseratis and Mercs does make one think one is in paradise.
Yet, at the moment Monaco is on the front pages for something which one would say would *never* happen there: Murder. And not just manslaughter, but a double premeditated murder.
A man named Wojciech Janowski (65) is being accused of having handed over a large sum of money to have the wealthiest person in Monaco and one of the wealthiest in the world, Hélène Pastor, the mother of his companion, Sylvia Pastor (53), shot to death.
Allegedly Janowski had planned with his personal fitness trainer, Pascal Dauriac, that Mrs Pastor (77) would be shot in an ambush along with her chauffeur, Mohamed Darwich, (64) as they were driving in her Lancia from the Archet Hospital in the nearby French town of Nice after a visit to her son Gildo (47) who was a patient in the hospital after having suffered a stroke.
Janowski had insisted to Dauriac that not only should Mrs Pastor be killed, but so too the chauffeur to mislead the French police into believing that the shooting was a gangland killing. (Of these there are dozens in that area of France each year: the shootings taking place in the French Mediterranean port of Marseille and all drug related.)
According to confessions – and the protagonists are singing like birds – Dauriac, Jankowski having promised him a large sum of money – the amount being mentioned varies between €140,000 ($190,000) and €200,000 ($270,000 – contacted some Marseilles ‘acquaintances’ from the mobster underworld who put him in touch with two men who would do the shooting.
The two potential killers – Samine Said Ahmed, (24) and Alhair Hamadi (31) – had both done time in jail: Hamadi four years for armed robbery; Ahmed three years for aggravated violence.
The two duly carried out the deed on Tuesday, May 6.
The two victims were still alive when medics reached them, but four days later Darwich passed away and 11 days later Mrs Pastor.
Ahmed and Hamadi were quickly identified from footage on CCTV cameras at the scene of the shooting but the police (as the crime had been committed in France the French police and not the Monaco police are in charge of the case) did not go in to arrest the two but began tapping their phones and staking out their homes.
The two’s phone conversations having linked them to Dauriac and to Wojciech Janowski, the police, sure they have the guilty, moved in on Monday, June 23.
They arrested 23 people, among them Ahmed, Hamadi, Dauriac and Janowski – and to everyone’s total shock, the murdered woman’s daughter, Sylvia. The latter was released after three days, totally innocent of the murder of her mother and her mother’s chauffeur. She is said to be devastated and in a very bad state.
Of the 23 people, seven were charged with either first degree murder which is the case for Janowski, Dauriac, Ahmed and Hamadi, or with complicity to murder. The first four risk life imprisonment; the others long jail terms.
Janowski who had confessed to plotting the murder of Mrs Pastor and her chauffeur, has now retracted his confession. He has now said that although he speaks French he did not understand quite well enough the terms used by the French police when they were questioning him. He is therefore innocent, he says. (He had refused the presence of a lawyer at his interrogation: he does though now have one.)
Who is Janowski?
CV was impressive, and assured the presence of the rich and famous at his side. And probably of attracting the daughter of the wealthy Mrs Pastor. (Her wealth is only being guessed at, but it comes to billions in whatever currency you prefer to calculate.)
Not only was he Poland’s Honorary Consul to Monaco, but he held an M.A. degree in Economics from Cambridge University, and before he had founded his own chemical business, he had managed the state-controlled group running the principality’s top hotel and casino. (Bear in mind that the state in Monaco is the ruling prince.)
So popular was he that the evening before the shooting, he, in his capacity as Poland’s Honorary Consul to Monaco, held a reception for 250 guests for the inauguration of Poland’s newly-opened Chamber of Commerce and Industry office in the principality.
Alas, he is now no longer Poland’s Honorary Consul: Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs ordered the Polish Ambassador to France to dismiss him.
And now his Monaco admirers also know that he does not hold a Cambridge M.A. in Economics, or in anything else, and his only connection to the principality hotel/casino group was that he had for a brief period done publicity for the casino’s ‘American Games’ tables: craps, black jack and roulette.
He also claimed to have received France’s highest award – the Legion d’Honneur – in 2010 from France’s then president, Nicolas Sarkozy. However, his name does not show on the Legion d’Honneur list for that year, or any other year.
Therefore, that impressive C.V. of his is a fake.He is now in Marseille’s Les Baumettes prison, said to be France’s toughest. Justice is slow in France, so two years, or even more, may go by before his case will be in court.
The saying What a web one has to weave when once one decides to deceive, comes to mind.
On 17 September,several people went on trial for the murder of Mrs Pastor and Mr Darwich in the Supreme Court of the French town of Aix-en-Provence where all major criminal cases for that area of France are heard.
On trial are:
Samine Aid Ahmed, 28, the shooter;
Al Hair Hamadi, 35, the look-out man who had arrived at the murder scene with Hamadi and had fled with him and went into hiding with him;
Pascal Dauriac, 49, Mrs Pastor’s fitness coach who had recruited the killers;
Abdelkader Belkhatir, 35, Dauriac’s brother-in-law;
Salim Youssouf. 29, at the time of the shooting a gendarme (militarised policeman), who had supplied the sawed-off shotgun;
Omer Lehore, 28, friend of Dauriac who had recruited the shooter after Youssouf had refused to be the killer, but had all the same supplied the shotgun.
And last but not least: In fact, the main suspect, one Wojciech Janowski.
(In France, like in all civilised countries, one is regarded as innocent until proven guilty.)
More About Wojciech Janowski?
He is the 69-year old Polish-born companion of Mrs Pastor’s daughter Miss Sylvia Ratkowski-Pastor, 57, and the father of her 21-year-old daughter.
At the time of the shooting Janowski, known as a businessman, was also Poland’s Honorary Consul to Monaco.
He wanted to make Sylvia his wife, but she had refused to marry him, and this she had done for the 28 years that they were together.
What is being given as Janowski’s motive for wanting his lover’s mother dead?
The answer: Money.
Prosecutors believe that with Mrs Pastor dead, her two children – Sylvia and her brother Gildo – would inherit her billions. So they would have.
And Mrs Pastor dead, he, Janowski, would have money. All the money he could ever wish for.
(Marilyn Z Tomlins is a Paris based Crime Writer)