Controversial Oligarch Utemuratov Joins Monaco Elite In Portier Project

Monaco, one of the world’s smallest countries, is about to get bigger thanks to a €2 billion investment by some of its wealthiest residents.

L’Anse du Portier will reclaim six hectares of land from the Mediterranean, expanding Monaco’s territory by about 3%. The new land will be directly on the seafront and is expected to be the most expensive real estate in the world when the project is finished in 2025.

One of the investors in this new project is Bulat Utemuratov, a Kazakh oligarch who is worth an estimated $4 billion. His wealth reportedly comes from close ties to President Nazbayev of Kazakhstan, who has led the Central Asian country since its independence from the Soviet Union.

Utemuratov will own 5% of L’Anse du Portier via his Monaco-based family office, Janus. The involvement of Utemuratov and the other investors in L’Anse du Portier had been a secret but their details have been revealed for the first time by the Huffington Post.

The newspaper obtained the minutes of a meeting between Monaco Government officials who were discussing the progress of the project.

The minutes reveal the full list of investors, which include many of Monaco’s richest families. According to the Huffington Post, the investors are:

  • Patrice Pastor: 26%
  • Jean-Baptiste Pastor: 10.5%
  • Gerard Brianti: 10.5%
  • Casiraghi family: 10.5%
  • Lopez de la Osa family: 10.5%
  • Meyer Bergman Investment Fund: 10.5%
  • Janus (Bulat Utemuratov): 5%
  • Giuliani family: 5%
  • Stephane Robert: 5%

Patrice Pastor is the scion of a Monegasque family that has been instrumental in developing the tiny city-state. Patrice currently runs JB Pastor & Fils, which was founded in 1920 and has built many of Monaco’s landmarks. The Pastors have been described as the “second family” of Monaco, after the ruling Grimaldi family.

Jean-Baptiste Pastor comes from another branch of the Pastor family and runs Michel Pastor Gorup, a property development firm. The Casiraghi family are another member of Monaco’s elite and are related to the Grimaldis.

The involvement of Bulat Utemuratov, therefore, has raised eyebrows given the high-society company he is keeping.

The Huffington Post also questioned whether Monaco’s Government would be happy with Utemuratov’s involvement given that the principality is under pressure from the EU to crack down on money laundering and tax evasion by its wealthy residents. It has already started to distance itself from oligarchs considered undesirable.

The origins of Utemuratov’s wealth have been questioned for years with a US diplomatic cable describing him as a “a billionaire who has never had a business”. The oligarch was also said to have acted as Nazbayev’s “personal financial manager”.

The plan for the six hectares that L’Anse du Portier will add to Monaco’s territory is to build 120 new apartments, which hare likely to cost in excess of €100,000 per square meter, making them the most expensive in the world. The development will also include public space and retail.

Construction on the first of 18 protective walls that will form the boundary of the development has just begun and it is hoped that all the new land will have been reclaimed by about 2022.

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