By December 2002, we had reason to believe that notorious personalities in the Russian criminal underworld had, between 1996 and 2001, passed eight hundred million dollars through a Monaco company called Pastor International.
Much of this laundered money had been invested in real estate in France, Spain, and Switzerland, with significant amounts invested in hotels throughout Europe and Asia.
Most of this was generated by illegal arms sales.
A key figure in such dealing was a Russian named Viktor Bout a.k.a. “The Bill Gates of Arms Dealing.”
Through his private airline Air Cess (we called it “Air Cesspool”), Bout supplied the Taliban in Afghanistan with an air fleet comprised of five Soviet-made Antonov 12s.
Pastor International allegedly laundered the funds paid to Bout by the Taliban.
In February 2001, a federal prosecutor in Belgium, under pressure from the United States, had issued an arrest warrant alleging that Bout had laundered millions of dollars from illegal arms deals.
In addition, the SVR learned from one of its agents that the French were investigating money laundering violations on behalf of Russian clients.
Victor Pastor dissolved Pastor International in June 2001 and destroyed the company’s documentation. Soon after, he contracted cancer and died of an MRSA blood infection while undergoing treatment at Princess Grace Hospital in Monaco.
On the basis of Victor Pastor’s alleged money laundering, Prince Albert instructed me to launch an investigation into the activities of the extended Pastor family.
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