Retired book title. Not available anymore.
The number one aim of the “Monaco Experience” book is to support the local businesses and to help them to directly connect with the investors and business owners from outside the Principality. Another aim of present book is to raise attention to the most typical frauds and moral hazards committed by (non-)Monaco based gold diggers and fortune hunters. They target and mislead wealthy individuals who are aiming to invest or relocate in the Principality.
During and after the economic crisis many company owners have approached Mr. Szemerszky to advise them and to have him involved in their venture. Knowing that he has built up a significant database model with Monaco Wealth Management, containing rich and wealthy investors, celebrities, as well as many influential business owners, Zsolt continuously received fund raising and investor requests.
He always stated that he is not a financial advisor and he is not licensed to advice on financial investments however often he was ready to act as an introductory intermediary between potential partners.
Mr. Szemerszky also created business and risk analysis and fraud alerts. He was the one who discovered and unveiled a five million Euro committed fraud misusing the name and an official event of the Princely family of Monaco.
“Monaco Experience” Product Details
Number of pages: 410 pages
Author: Zsolt Szemerszky
Book format: Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: lulu.com (May 11, 2013)
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
Unveiling a Committed Fraud: Unexperienced experts
Since I started the MonacoWealthManagement.com business portal to collect all the reliable wealth, investment and residency related Monaco based companies I always receive various requests to be an intermediary for different fund raising activities.
However my favorite stories are when companies come to me with their big plans, stating that they are already there in Monaco when in reality they have no clue about how things are working there. I call them the unexperienced experts.
In 2012 I had a very interesting experience with an unexperienced expert who probably made its biggest mistake. A Zurich, Switzerland based wealth management company contacted me via LinkedIn because they thought that I have possible investors through my business portal MonacoWealthManagement.com.
The wealth company was founded in 2005 and they already handled approximately 1 500 Million CHF by 2012. They also employed 60 people to create custom tailored services for their wealthy entrepreneurs, sports and media professionals as they stated. It was also an impressive fact that they also dealt with family offices and banks on an institutional level, not to mention their three core service divisions: the Equity asset management, the Family office and the Private equity.
So in May 2012, one of the management board members of this wealth management company approached me offering an involvement in the “Monaco Fashion House” label, which was supposed to be Her Serene Highness Princess C harlène of Monaco’s new fashion label.
I found this an interesting approach however I had some doubts regarding the fashion ambitions of the Princess. However you never know, so we started a very in-depth conversation with the wealth management company and they confirmed me back many times the following.
“Monaco Fashion House is a new fashion brand. We will soon announce Prince Albert of Monaco is the Patron. We raise funding of € 10m. Contracts are being drawn up with Monaco banks to raise second round EUR 30m.” – 24 May 2012, from the Swiss Wealth Management Company
After several e-mails I got the answer that the founder of the Monaco Fashion House is a fashion designer, who lives in the Principality since more than 8 years under the address of 31 Avenue Princess Grace. I was also ensured that the Monaco Fashion House project was under the full support of Prince Albert and they already raised 5 million Euro before May 2012.
The request towards me and my business and investor channels was to help to publish their new concept, supported by the Prince and to raise with this publicity more funds.
To keep my interest on the top they continuously sent me the new information regarding the status of the project.
“From what I understand of the development it appears Princess Charlene is very excited by the prospect of the Monaco Fashion House. I believe my client is meeting her again with her friend in the next couple of weeks when the business plan is completed to put the final touches on the agreement, in what ever shape it takes. To vme it makes much more sense for the Princess to be involved in some way form or shape and it could compliment her profile.” – 7 June 2012, from the Swiss Wealth Management Company
After many requests finally I received some more information regarding the investment. That was the moment when I was ninety-nine percent confident that this investment deal can not be real. However when I received the official documents about the project, the Information Memorandum and the Executive summary I noticed interestingly that both documents used past tenses. Since the wealth management company pushed me further I decided to run another round on this topic.
During the last years I got to know a very kind gentleman at the Direction Expansion Economique of Monaco so I decided to use this connection to make a double-check. However they confirmed my feelings back and I realized that nobody knows about this venture there.
“I haven’t heard of such project. For sure they have not got any business permit in the past few months as I would have remembered it.” – 10 July 2012, from the Direction Expansion Economique of Monaco
Based on the Law in Monaco, starting a venture under the Patronage of the Prince without a physical office is almost unrealistic. This was the point when I created a Concern document to clear everything. I wanted to believe that something extraordinary is happening in the Principality because the wealth management company kept on pushing me further. So it was the time for a face to face meeting.
On 16 July 2012, I flew to Zurich to meet in person with the responsible people of the Swiss Wealth management Company, I met with the project manager and the CEO and I raised their attention to some of the concerns.
After some formal chit-chat we jumped into the middle of my concerns.
-My very first concern is on the guarantee statement in the Information Memorandum. – I started, then I read them the clausal I found very weird.
“Monaco Fashion House will need from time to time to access proper capital, financial and human resources: there is no guarantee that it will be able to do so properly in the future, failing which the Project’s development plans and survival may be affected.” – Monaco Fashion House Information Memorandum
-What is the problem with this? – asked the CEO – I can not understand the concern here.
-Does this mean that even if the Investor ensures the 10 Million Euro investment fund, he/she has no guarantee that the company will survive in the first year?
-It could happen. – came the answer.
-The Investment Memorandum mentions a five year period for the return of the Investment, however present statement clearly states that there is a serious risk involved from the very beginning without any escaping plan, or solution offered.
-Every investment has its own risk – the project manager replied immediately.
I was so happy to see that they are proving my point, so I c ontinued by reading page two.
“This Document does not represent an offer or a solicitation of an investment… Any party which may be interested in a participation should conduct its own professional due diligence…” – Monaco Fashion House Information Memorandum
-This states that all the presented information needs to be double checked, investigated and re-calculated, which questions the credibility of the presented information. – I continued my concerns. – It could also mean that an Investor signing an intent, based on the presented information could be mis-led or mis-informed without any further consequences.
-No! – the CEO raised his voice. It only means that you have your right to double-check everything with your own lawyer.
-Ok, it is fair enough. – I started to calm down the temperature, however I knew that we were going into sensitive areas. – So what is this “raise additional debt” thing in page three?
“Management reserves the right to undertake, from time to time and as it sees fit, further fund raising above and beyond those currently contemplated, and raise additional equity or debt.” – Monaco Fashion House Information Memorandum
At that moment I saw that the CEO could kill with his eyes, but luckily the project manager tried to save the situation and he continued.
-It is just a legal formality that in case another economic crisis happens, then we allow to raise another equity fund for the successful continuation. – he answered me.
-The Information Memorandum states that the Monaco Fashion House has been created and is currently running with a structure, where 93.3% is owned by the Founders and 6.7% is owned by Patrons. Who are the people behind the current company?
-We can not disclose our client’s name – the project manager replied quickly .
First it bothered me and I almost stood up and walked out of the wealth management company, but I really wanted to go i nto the Monaco related statements.
-Since how long does the current company run, because the business domain (monacofashionhouse.com) of the company was registered only less than 4 months ago and it still has no live content.
-We wanted to close first the full funding process. Until then we just secured the domain.
-Ok, but why now and not two years ago?
-Because this was the phase when we decided to start.
During the last years we were involved in the preparation phases as well as in the research and the analysis.
I looked deeply in the guys eyes and I saw that the CEO was already scared, however I wanted to see how the project manager handles it if I push him further, just as he pushed m e with this project through his emails.
-Why was it necessary to register the Monaco Fashion House Limited? – I started.
-Because we are collecting the funds? – laughed at me the project manager.
-For a company which has the Monaco Fashion House concept, which idea was started two years ago and which has owners and patrons, right? – I asked.
-Right. – he replied promptly.
-Ok, but you know I have a small issue with this.
-Today is 16 July 2012, we are talking about this since
May, however the company was only registered on the 5 July 2012, just eleven days ago.
I watched closely the reaction of the project manager. His face started to sweat meanwhile the CEO’s face was white l ike a wall.
-If the purpose of the fund and the aim of the Monaco Fashion House is to operate a business in Monaco, then why was it necessary to register an Offshore company just 10(!!!) days ago, called Monaco Fashion House Limited, instead of really starting the operation in Monaco?
-Because the fashion designer is from London. – I received the poor answer.
-We all know it is bullshit. – I started my answer. At this point I became a little bit harsh with them because I wanted them to know that probably they were wasting my time. – There is a special regulation in the UK for companies, which are owned by overseas owners. Based on its company registration data, the Monaco Fashion House Limited is considered as an offshore company with its capital of one Euro. Based on the Information Memorandum the Monaco Fashion House is planned to operate in Monaco in August 2012. So when will the Monaco Fashion House really operate in Monaco?
-We already started the first steps and we are in an administration process. – the project managers replied. -Interesting, because on 12 July 2012 the Monaco
Economic Department stated in written that they were never approached by the team of Monaco Fashion House and the Monaco Economic Department never received any request for company formation with the following Object Social. Based on the Law in Monaco to operate a company several steps have to be fulfilled before the Monaco Economic Department approves the operation permits. The complete process takes a minimum of 3 months if the Gérant currently lives in Monaco with a valid Carte de Sejour. In all other cases it can take up to 6 months. The question in this case is how can the Monaco Fashion House operate in Monaco from August 2012 if they have not even filed for an Object Social, and so the Monaco Economic Department has never approved its activity?
I started to feel the weight of the big silence, which was around the wealth managers. The CEO has not even spoken since ten minutes and he continuously watched the project manager to help him out. I saw that he was feeling himself v ery uncomfortable. Finally I got my excuse.
-We are looking to purchase an existing company. This is why you can not double-check this in Monaco. – I received the answer.
I have to admit, that it was a very smart answer. The project manager guy had a very sharp mind and I imagined that he c an sell anything to naive investors.
-Based on the Information Memorandum the Monaco Fashion House is planning to operate in Monaco with at least four different types of activities, such as Fashion, Jewelry, Perfume and Leather goods. – I continued.
-Yes, this is our aim to have a well diversified portfolio. -Based on the Law in Monaco the Monaco Economic Department will request different approvals and probably different corporate identities for these activities. How will this effect the investment fund? Will the investment fund be split between the different activities? If yes, in which form?
-We will disclose this later. We have not finished the work about this yet.
It was very interesting because based on the Executive summary they already raised fifteen million Euro but they h ad not thought about the way of activity diversification.
-Okay. – I continued. – Where is the headquarter planned in Monaco? Based on the Law in Monaco the Economic Department strictly forbids businesses without a physical office. This means a company with only a webshop will be automatically denied if they can not provide an acceptable physical office for their activities. The criteria for the physical office is also provided by the Monaco Economic Department after the Object Social of the company has been approved.
-We will use the location of the company that we will purchase.
It was a very smart answer and I felt that the project manager played it well. I decided not to force this further because we both knew the real situation. So I started to ask about the involvement of the Princely family. It was the most interesting part for me and obviously one of the main r easons why I was ready to be involved.
-The Monaco Fashion House is using the Coat of Arms of the Grimaldi House as its company logo, which is forbidden to use for all companies. The Coat of Arms is the symbol of the Prince’s family and by using it it can involve a penalty or even a business operation ban of the Monaco Fashion House. It is like signing a document with the stamp of the Prince’s family.
-Except when the Prince wants this.
-So it was the order of H.S.H. Prince Albert II? – I asked. -Yes, he specially requested it because this brand will be related to his wife, H.S.H. Princess Charlène.
-Well, I see. – I tried to confirm his thoughts back. – In the previous communication it was mentioned that H.S.H. Prince Albert II and H.S.H. Princess Charléne will support the Monaco Fashion House project. However I thought H.S.H. Prince Albert II does not support first year activities and it is very rare that he supports Monaco based companies, which are younger than 5 years.
-Except if it is for his wife, as I told you. – said the project manger.
Bang…, He tried to knock me down and he did it very well. At this point I started to see the life coming back in the eyes of the CEO. He almost tried to have a little smile on his face. I t hink he started to believe that they can convince me.
-Based on my request in the Palace I was informed that H.S.H. Princess Charléne has never heard about this project. If such a support of the Prince’s family exists could you please provide me the Royal letter, which is signed by the Prince’s family. – I looked into the project manager’s eyes and I continued… – This letter does not depend on the operation, the Prince’s family is always ready to sign for future projects as well if they support them. Herewith I am presenting you how a Royal communication should look like. These documents could strengthen the credibility of the above mentioned statement of the Monaco Fashion House and all possible investors will request this. Without them there is no credibility behind them.
At this point I handed them a Royal letter written by H.S.H. Princess Charléne of Monaco. It was a thank you letter dedicated to me personally. The wealth managers looked at the Royal letter as if it would be something unique and a magical thing, which they have obviously never seen before.
-Again Zsolt, it is the in-house project of the Prince so why would he write this letter? – He looked at me, but he immediately continued. – But I will get you a letter like this for the next week.
-Perfect, that would be great.
-Ok, but then you will help us to raise funds, right?
-If you have the Royal letter then I believe it will be quite easy to attract investors. So my answer is yes. – I replied.
At this point they started to be very calm and the stress cloud m oved away from the CEO too.
-I have one more, very last request. – I started again. -Go on, please. – the CEO finally answered me.
-The Information Memorandum includes the income sources such as Donatella Versace, Marc Jacobs or Louis Vuitton. Is it a “wish or a dream” to work with these brands, or are there any serious commitments available or at least a letter of intent?
Before they could answer I put in front of them another letter from Louis Vuitton, because I got one in 2010. However the p roject manager was smart, he replied fast.
-We will get this for you too. Maybe it takes two weeks, but next week you will have the letter from Prince Albert II. for sure.
We spent some more time to talk about Monaco, Switzerland, wine and other topics, but I was not really convinced. The summarizing the answers they tried to prove the point that everything is all right and on the right track, just Prince Albert II. was too busy to create the reference statements. However I tried to see everything in a positive way, so we shook hands and I flew back to Monaco.
After two weeks the wealth management company came back to me and they started to push me forward with the fund raising process. So I replied them.
“First of all I am happy to help MFH, but currently I could not see any credibility behind them. When you are able to send me over the references, the gov. letter and the Prince’s confirmation I am able to move forward. Just send me over the CREDITS!” – 25 July 2012, from me to the Swiss wealth management company
Just a day after my letter suddenly I received some further communication, but it was different from the one I expected. There were a lot of new details without the requested credibility letters.
Just in a moment ago:
Prince Albert and Princess Charlene have requested a letter in order to formalize the relationship last Friday following a personal meeting with the founder and Cammila Ollson.
External Creative designers for the first show,
R. Cavali will do a sexy line
T. Hillfiger will do the sport/leisure line
Zack Posen will do the classic elegant line
Tamara Mellon (the girl behind Jimmy Choo)
the Shoes will do
We, have introduced Roberto Fili (Valentino and Roberto Cavalli)) as candidate for President; there is a meeting next week:
Roberto Jorgio President (meeting next week)
Carin Roitfeldt Chairman (meeting next week) Kristian Aadenvik Creative director
Jeanluc B. the ex CEO from Diesel (Italy) as the COO Jorgen Anderson (H&M) Marketing Director Emmanuel Noirhomme Head of e Commerce/ digital Director
MFH is still looking for the right CEO.
In house designers
Isabel Kristensen (friend of Princess Charlene). Annelie Hofstrom (show designer behind Manolo Blanch and Oscar de la Renta).
Other in house designers,
Claudio Castaldo, for menswear, and for shoes, Nicolas Kirkwood, Camilla Skovgaard, Charlotte Olympia,
Nona Pedersen as the PR firm to assist MFH
David Anton for the Campaigns, he does the LV campaigns.
Emmanuel DellaValle for Online Publishing
Maureen and Camilla for the event.” – 26 July 2012, from the Swiss Wealth Manager Company
During the next days we had some further mails and they were eager to have funds. At one point I closed the door and I told the wealth management company that I am still looking f or the letter from H.S.H. Prince Albert II.
The project manager wrote me in a very disrespectful way and he stated that my sources in the Princely Palace are incompetent and they had no clue about this project. He also told me that if I would go to the Palace today everybody would know about the Monaco Fashion House project. So I did as he asked me…
The Princely Palace was shocked when they heard about the fund raising in the name of the Prince and the Princess.
“Dear Mr. Szemerszky,
The information about the fashion show is not true. I don’t understand who gives you this information.” – 09 August 2012, from the Palace Press Office
After this letter I was requested to send all the documents to the Palace of Monaco because they wanted to make a deep investigation on this matter. So I started to receive various letters confirming back my original feeling, that the whole project was a fraud.
“Dear Mr. Szemerszky,
I am directed by Her Serene Highness Princess Charlène to reply to your e-mail from July 26′” 2012, asking for the confirmation of some information about a Fashion Event in the Princely Palace, in September 2012.
The Private Secretary’s office of Her Serene Highness Princess of Monaco has no information concerning this event and would like to know who is your Swiss Partner, and how did he obtain an invitation to be involved in this manifestation.
“Could you please give us all the information you can get. Thanks in advance for your kind help.” – 10 August 2012, from the Private Secretary for Her Serene Highness Princess Charlène
“I am directed by Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene to reply to your e-mail from July 26′” 2012, asking for the confirmation of sorne information about a Fashion Event in the Princely Palace, in September 2012.
The Private Secretary’s office of Her Serene Highness Princess of Monaco has no information conceming this event and would like to know who is yom Swiss Partner, and how did he obtain an invitation to be involved in this manifestation.
Could you please give us allthe information you can gel. Thanks in advance for yom kind help.”
Yours Sincerely, Cécile GHIGLIONE. – Palace of Monaco, August 09,2012
Probably this letter from H.S.H. Princess Charléne of Monaco was the biggest proof for me, but I also got a response from the part of H.S.H. Prince Albert II.
“Dear Mr. Szemerszky,
Let me thank you for providing us with all the information in your hands on
After a quick preliminary investigation, I can confirm that:
– the Princely Couple is not supporting the activities described under MFH;
– there will be no event launch in September during “Grace, a Symbol of Change”.
The Government of Monaco will proceed to more intensive investigations.” – 14 August 2012, from the Cabinet of the Sovereign Prince
At this point I was not available for further communication with the swiss wealth management company. I definitely closed all the communication channels with them.
However after a few weeks I noticed on LinkedIn that the project manager changed his employment history. I saw that he left the swiss wealth management company. I could not stand to ask him why. Obviously I knew the reason but I was very interested in it from him personally.
During our communication I got to know that he was forced to leave the swiss wealth management company. Obviously the management put all the responsibility on to the project manager. Just as usual, possibly the swiss wealth management company sent a sorry letter to the Palace of Monaco and they stated that they had no idea about anything, but after an inside investigation they fired the responsible person. It is always the smallest item on the food-chain that takes the responsibility.
During the next months I still got some letter from the Palace and they kept me informed about the initial steps they took. I really appreciated this and I thought it was a very correct way.
“Response from the Palace Press Office:
The princely Palace is not in a position to comment on the Monaco Fashion House project since being not aware of its existence. It can be very clearly stated that the Princely Couple is not involved or supportive of it. Investigations by the Government of Monaco are ongoing as the reference, with no authorization, to the Princely Couple and to Monaco is considered a very serious matter.” – 26 September 2012, from the Cabinet of the Sovereign Prince
Since then I have had no information about the status, but probably firing the poor employee was enough to avoid the responsibility. However I hope there were serious consequences for the swiss wealth management company to bear as well, since they collected fifteen million Euro investment fund. Because probably the already raised fifteen m illion Euro is still there somewhere in the pockets.
If I would be in the position of the Princely Palace I would sue the swiss wealth management company for sure and I would force them to transfer the raised fifteen million Euro as a donation to the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, because they collected the amount by misusing the name of the Prince. But it is not my business anymore. It was enough for me that the Palace thanked my help for raising the attention to this committed fraud.
I was really happy to see the end of the story as well as to see how serious and prompt the Prince’s Palace of Monaco is in matters like this.