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Belgian tycoon charged with faking Monaco tax residence

Published on 22/11/2016

A Belgian tycoon has been charged on suspicion of paying off police to fake an official residence in the glitzy low tax resort of Monaco, Belgian prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Pierre Salik, 86, is suspected of bribing a retired Monaco police officer to provide him and his family residency papers for the tiny Mediterranean principality while he was actually living in high-tax Belgium.

Five other people were arrested in Belgium on Monday, but were released after questioning by the police.

“We contest all the facts,” Salick’s lawyer Jean-Philippe Mayence told AFP.

The politically well-connected Salick made his fortune in Belgium running a jeans company in the 1960s and 1970s.

Last year, his name turned up in a trove of leaked HSBC bank data known as Swissleaks, involving 3,000 rich Belgians with secret accounts in Switzerland.

Prosecutors said a substantial stash of cash was found during the arrests, which took place in several areas across Belgium including the upmarket seaside town of Knokke.

The case began in early October when investigators in Monaco, working on a different case, discovered that the retired police officer was providing residency permits to a single family from Belgium in return for cash, prosecutors said.

Belgium is one of the highest taxed countries in Europe while Monaco imposes zero tax for citizens not from neighbouring France.