Italian Princess to appeal against £2 million contempt of court fine

AN Italian princess and TV star has been fined £2 million for contempt of Jersey’s Royal Court and says she will appeal against the ruling in the latest twist in a decade-long battle over a £100 million family trust fund.

Princess Camilla Crociani de Bourbon des Deux Siciles arriving at the Royal Court in November. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (29903628)
Princess Camilla Crociani de Bourbon des Deux Siciles arriving at the Royal Court in November. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (29903628)

Princess Camilla Crociani de Bourbon des Deux Siciles, who lives in Monaco, was handed the fine after Jersey’s highest court ruled that she had ignored an order to reveal the location of a $66 million painting and other valuable assets owned by her mother, Edoarda, to help rebuild the funds of the disputed Grand Trust.

She has been given two months to pay the fine, with the Royal Court due to impose a 12-month prison sentence on her if she does not do so.

But the princess, who recently starred in the BBC documentary Inside Monaco: Playground of the Rich, says she intends to contest the judgment.

The case dates back to 2011, when Princess Camilla’s sister, Cristiana, began legal proceedings, claiming that she was being blocked from inheriting family wealth that had been placed in the Grand Trust by their mother and then removed.

In 2017 the Royal Court ordered Edoarda and BNP Jersey, who were both trustees and found to have breached trust rules, to rebuild the fund which, at one stage, was estimated to be worth more than $130 million and included valuable artwork including Paul Gauguin’s Hina Maruru painting, which was insured for $66 million.

Following a series of rulings in various jurisdictions, Princess Camilla was ordered by Jersey’s Royal Court to disclose details of her mother’s wealth to BNP to help it rebuild the trust. But the court and bank have not been satisfied with her efforts.

The Royal Court judgment says: ‘Although Camilla, to the best of our knowledge, is a person of good character in the sense that she has no convictions, in our view this is a flagrant contempt on her part involving repeated breaches of the December 2018 disclosure order from January 2019 for which she shows no remorse. Furthermore, she has been fully warned of the consequences.

‘In our view, Camilla is a person of substantial wealth who is openly defying the orders of this court and there is a strong public interest in upholding respect for the role and authority of the court. Any fine imposed for a flagrant contempt of court of this kind must be meaningful and, for a person of the wealth of Camilla, to be meaningful it must be substantial.

‘In our view, the appropriate sanction for this contempt is a fine in the sum of £2 million, together with a punitive costs order, namely an order that she indemnify BNP for all of its costs of and incidental to these contempt proceedings from after 25 February 2020 hearing to date.

‘We will allow two months for the fine to be paid and, in default of payment, Camilla will serve a term of imprisonment of 12 months.’

In response to the ruling, Princess Camilla has accused the bank, which has spent more than £100 million rebuilding the trust fund, of using a ‘strategy of judicial exhaustion’ to exonerate its Jersey branch of its liabilities in the affair. The bank declined to comment on the accusations.

In a statement the Princess also says that she intends to appeal the judgment.

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