“Fiocco Di Neve” ski resort and spa in Limone Piemonte, a mountainous region in the Italian province of Cuneo, may have been funded by money laundered by the 70-year old owner of the real estate agency “Immobilia 2000” Jean Louis Coletti of the famous Monegasque Coletti family in Monaco. The family-run real estate agency has a long history and roots in Monaco and nearby areas. Jean Louis Coletti and his partner Antonio Lombardi decided to invest in and officially open the Fiocco Di Neve hotel and spa back in July 2017.
Following several months of wiretapping and investigations, the Italian Financial Police (Guardia Di Finanza) found that the money behind the hotel investment came from a scam that Jean Louis Coletti ran a few years ago in Monaco.
Around 4 years ago, Jean Louis Coletti and the popular “GESTIONNAIRE DE FORTUNE” (wealth management) department of a renowned Monegasque private banker took around €200M from the accounts of rich Lebanese and Middle-Eastern clients, over the course of many years, without getting caught. The scheme was simple but highly profitable and it took some time to raise client suspicions and accusations.
The Private Banker and Jean Louis Coletti took out the money from these wealthy customers with the claims that these would be invested in secure bonds at a very low-interest rate and risk. However, in reality, the money was allocated to foreign accounts possessed by Jean Louis Coletti, who in turn invested the funds in high-risk real estate projects and trade deals.
When the investment transaction was completed, the money went back to the sender, while both Jean Louis Coletti and the Private Banker fraudulently shared the millions. The scheme was going pretty well during the first few months until Jean Louis Coletti bought residences at price-out values, in an attempt to make the trades more appealing. Many of the residences were later resold to wealthy Russians and this was where the trouble began.
The Monegasque Police was alerted by the private banker’s clients after suspicions of where their money went and lack of returns. The Financial Police firstly arrested both the private banker and Jean Louis Coletti right after. During his first days in prison, the owner of the Immobilia 2000 real estate agency, managed to hide the looted millions, but the Financial Police has eventually uncovered a part of the looted funds in the place they were re-invested–the purchase and renovation of the Fiocco Di Neve hotel and spa in limone Piemonte.
It shall be noted that new anti-money laundering laws have been passed in the Monegasque constitution, in an effort to tighten the screw on money laundering. The latest act passed in December 2020, primarily targeting money laundering in the luxury industry. The new anti-money laundering law granted the Monegasque legal system the authority and power to carry out more extensive audits and inspections of financial transactions, based on identified risks, alerts, and vulnerabilities. A commission has been appointed to take charge of the sanctions and legal consequences of money laundering, especially in the luxury sector where high-risk investments like those initiated by Jean Louis Coletti are involved.