Evil Bastards: Monaco Mob Hit Staged?

Did billionaire Monaco heiress mastermind her mother's murder?
From the Daily Mail: Smartly dressed in elegant cocktail attire, the smiling couple look ready for an evening out.

Now billionaire Monaco heiress Sylvia Pastor, 53, and Cambridge University graduate Wojciech Janowski, 65, - pictured together at a Monaco state event in 2003 - are in custody, suspected of 'masterminding' the assassination of her equally wealthy mother.

Police suspect the pair ordered the Mafia-style hit. Mr Janowski has been Poland's Honorary Consul in Monaco since 2007

Hélène Pastor, a 77-year-old socialite and businesswoman who was close to the royals who run the Mediterranean principality, was gunned down in a hail of bullets on May 6.

She and her chauffer both died of their wounds following the attack outside L'Archet hospital in the French city of Nice, which is a short drive from Monaco.

Killed: Hélène Pastor, a 77-year-old socialite and businesswoman, was gunned down on May 6

Killed: Hélène Pastor, a 77-year-old socialite and businesswoman, was gunned down on May 6

Police believe that her daughter, Sylvia Pastor, 53, and her husband, Wojciech Janowski, 65, ordered the Mafia-style hit.

Two suspected hitmen were traced after police studied DNA evidence and CCTV footage from the area where Mrs Pastor and her chauffer were killed.

The alleged killers, aged 24 and 31, originally from the Comoros islands, and both have criminal convictions.

CCTV video shows the two men took a train from Marseille to Nice on day of the shooting, May 6, gone to a hotel, and then made their way to the scene of the crime, said Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin.

One of the men is thought to have left his face uncovered.

Detectives investigating the murder have traced ‘suspicious financial movements’ into an account belonging to Mr Janowski.

Today Mr Robin spoke of ‘apparent links’ between the couple and some 21 others brought into custody at the same time.

Arrests have been made in French cities including Nice, Marseille and Rennes.

Earlier this week, a spokesman for the Marseille prosecutor, which is leading the investigation into the double murder, said: 'A number of arrests have been made, and a police operation in connection with the killings is ongoing.'

The spokesman confirmed French media reports that Sylvia Pastor was among those arrested, along with Wojciech Janowski, who has been Poland's Honorary Consul in Monaco since 2007.

'The arrested man, who was apprehended by police, is the suspected mastermind, and is in custody along with his wife,' said the spokesman.

Probe: A police officer investigates a car on May 6 at the site in Nice, France, where Hélène Pastor and her driver were killed

Born in Warsaw in 1949, Janowski graduated from Cambridge in the early 1970s, before getting involved in a number of major companies in the water treatment, casino and hotel sectors.

He was made an Officer of the Order of Merit by the then French president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007 for his 'charitable activities'.

Arrested: Police believe Wojciech Janowski (pictured), 65, ordered the hit along with his wife

Mrs Pastor's driver, 64-year-old Mohammed Darwish, succumbed to wounds in the face, neck and stomach - dying on May 10, shortly before his boss.

Investigators suspect two of Italy's most notorious crime syndicates, the 'Ndrangheta and the Camorra, of carrying out the double assassination.

Both crime gangs are said to be building property portfolios on the French Riviera as they expand their field of operations.

Mrs Pastor's family own buildings worth billions in the area, and detectives believe the Mafia were trying to muscle in.

Mrs Pastor had been visiting her son, Gildo, who runs a car hire company, at the Nice hospital when a solo gunman struck.

In a classic Mafia-style hit, he shot both Mrs Pastor and her chauffer in the head and stomach with a pump-action shotgun through their car window.

Following the attack, the hit man jumped into a waiting getaway car driven by another man, and then sped off.

Location: Hélène Pastor and her chauffer both died of their wounds following the attack outside L'Archet hospital (file picture) in the French city of Nice, which is a short drive from Monaco

French MP Eric Ciotti expressed his 'extreme shock' at the double assassination, while Prince Albert II of Monaco issued a statement expressing 'deep support' for the Pastor family.

Statement: Prince Albert II of Monaco has expressed 'deep support' for the Pastor family

Mrs Pastor was the sister of Michel Pastor, the former chairman of AS Monaco football club who died in February.

Her daughter and son, already rich in their own right, would have become billionaires on their mother's death.

The Marseille prosecutor has now opened a judicial enquiry into the double murder, parts of which were captured on CCTV.

'We are studying frozen images of the attack in an attempt to identify the attackers, and witnesses,' said an investigating source.

He said that an alleged blackmailer had been contacting the Pastor family, and was currently undergoing 'psychiatric tests'.

Mrs Pastor's grandfather was an Italian immigrant who developed large parts of Monaco before handing his business over to her father, Gildo Pastor.

The principality is a tax haven which is regularly linked with organised crime gangs, as well as prominent individuals who want to keep the source of their wealth a closely guarded secret.