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  #1  
Old 03-08-2008, 09:14 PM
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Controversy about Laurent's Villa in Italy

As posted by Catherine on the Benelux Royals MB:

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Also according to het Laatste Nieuws, prince Laurent owns an exclusive villa on the Italian island Panarea, before the coast of Sicily. He bought the house in 2002 for more or less 1 million euro.

the villa has 4 bedrooms and a view on the Stromboli volcano. It's apperently not in a good state now, and needs restauration.

The mayor of the town was invited to Laurent's wedding.

The owner of a local restaurant has confirmed that Laurent & Claire have come to dinner. It's been a while since they've been there, because it's too dangerous with small children, there are a lot of steps.

Other sources in the village say Laurent has been over with a Belgian architect and some painters.

According to the paper prince Willem-Alexander and princess Maxima were intrested in the house, but Laurent refused to sell.

After this news the usual politicians (Pol Vandendriessche, JM De Decker) expressed criticism, who question the prince's financial affairs.
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Old 03-08-2008, 10:00 PM
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Well the journalist who wrote that piece is not too clever. First he writes that the place is dangerous for children and a few sentenses later that Willem-Alexander and Maxima want to buy it, who have 3 children!
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Old 03-11-2008, 06:10 AM
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The newspaper 'Het Gazet van Antwerpen' went to Italy and had a look at the property of Prince Laurent.

Their report in Dutch can be found here.

According to them the villa is on an excellent location, overlooking the harbour and placed on a (dead) vulcano. The villa could use some good restauration but it is valued at 2 million euros.
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Old 03-11-2008, 06:17 AM
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Het Laatste Niews is always quick when they hope that they can slander a member of the RF, this time is no exeption.

The house was bought in 2002 by the Compagnie des Eoliennes and costed 637.932 euros. In March 2002 the company only had 398.000 euros. The newspaper suspects that Laurent used his dotation of 300.000 euros to cover the extra costs. Why this is a problem is a mystery to me as I think he is free to do with the money as he pleases AFAIK.

Read the article in Dutch here.
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Old 03-11-2008, 06:20 AM
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A politician for the party 'Spirit' used the opportunity to ask for more transparancy in the finances of the RF. Geert Lambert says it is unclear now what the costs are as they are placed with several departments.\

Article in Dutch here, from newspaper 'De Standaard'
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Old 03-11-2008, 07:49 AM
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According to a spokesman of the Palace in The Hague, Prince Willem-Alexander does not and never did want to buy the villa of Prince Laurent, he has actually never been there though it was pointed out to him once when he was sailing near the island.

Source: royalblog.nl
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Old 03-11-2008, 09:32 AM
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Just seems like quite a few errors in reporting. At this point there is a lot of hearsay. Seems like the only fact that has been accurately reported is that the property is indeed owned by Prince Laurent.
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Old 03-11-2008, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helena View Post
Well the journalist who wrote that piece is not too clever. First he writes that the place is dangerous for children and a few sentenses later that Willem-Alexander and Maxima want to buy it, who have 3 children!
I think the owner of the restaurant was referring L&C not having been to the restaurant in a while because of too many steps.
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Old 03-26-2008, 06:59 AM
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The controversy is not so much about the fact that he has this villa and with which money he paid for it.
But last year he couldn't pay the money back that the Belgian Navy spent redecorating his villa in Tervuren, so King Albert had to pay it. And now it turns out that he owns this expensive villa, that he never uses. So why didn't he sell this villa and use the money to pay the Navy back.
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Old 03-27-2008, 06:55 AM
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According to this article in 'Het Belang van Limburg' the senate will debate over the villa of the Prince after Easter...

A member of parlament remarked: 'if the Prince can afford a villa, why do we have to pay a dotation?'. An idiotic statement IMO, I suggest he will look which parlamentarians own a 2nd place somewhere and propose that they do not get a wage anymore either (which is basically the same reasoning as he is using).
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Old 03-27-2008, 09:36 AM
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What a ridiculous statement. Once someone is paid a salary or dotation or even given a gift, what they do with those funds is their business. Really now, this is just one of the most ridiculous things that I have ever heard.

I am sure that the BRF is already strictured and watched enough as it is with what they do, but if they are being paid a salary, who is the parliament to tell them what they may or may not do with it?
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Old 04-09-2008, 03:37 PM
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The Prince should get this villa fixed and then sell it someone who really needs a home.He never used the villa in the first place nor did he keep maintance on this villa.
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Old 04-18-2008, 04:43 PM
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Today, 18 april 2008, Mr. Etienne Davignon 'saves' Prince Laurent, according to newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws. Mr. Davignon is a well known CEO of the Suez Group. Mr. Davignon is probably hired by the palace to create some clarity in the financial and business situation of Prince Laurent. The Prince has been under fire for real estate transactions in Brussels and Italy.

Prime Minister Leterme today has to awnser questions from parlament as some members want to stop Laurents dotation.

Davignon has placed all real estate of the prince and his companies in a new foundation, called GRECT. If this organisation makes profits the money will go to an ecological project.

Read the article in Dutch here.
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Old 04-19-2008, 07:54 AM
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Well, the prince was under fire in parlament and he will be under the control of mr. davignon in the future. It really is a big mess IMO. His villa for example is only 25% owned by him and 75% ownded by a company of his, that is involved with ecological issues and that gets subsidies from the state.

Davignon will see if the villa can be sold to the comapny completely but that Laurent can have the right to use the villa for himself. The possible profits will have to go to the foundation too, not to Laurent.

Prime Minister Leterme defended the Prince, he said that the law on dotations does not say anything about how the dotation can be used, that is for the royals in question to decide, not for parlament. The law also has no space to forbid members of the RF to be involved in certain (business) activities.

Article in Dutch here.
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Old 04-19-2008, 07:58 AM
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In 'Het Laatste Nieuws' mr. Davignon, former chairman of the European Commision denies that the Palace asked him to help Laurent. Etienne Davignon says he found the prince sympathetic for a long time already and he thinks it is important that Laurent has something to do with his time/life.

He denied that any mistakes were made in Laurents businesses, there just needed to be more clarity, that is all.

Read the article here.
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Old 09-21-2014, 01:16 PM
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According to HLN, the villa is falling in pieces. The prince planned to restaure the place to organise meetings about ecology, but the plan wasn't executed. Windows are broken, bushes grow in front of doors and the place looks rather desolate:

Prins Laurent laat peperdure Italiaanse villa verkommeren - HLN.be
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Old 09-21-2014, 02:02 PM
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Difficult to restaure it as Prince Laurent's ecology companies who paid for are mostly bankrupt !
I wonder if this villa is Prince Laurent personal house of in the name of the companies?
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Old 09-21-2014, 03:36 PM
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It was said at the time that the house is on the name of one of his companies (see post #4). Though I am not sure if it is a good idea for Laurent to keep active in these things as it was implied that some tansactions were a bit dodgy.
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Old 09-21-2014, 03:54 PM
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What is it with Prince Laurent that he keeps coming in the news with these eh... strange news facts...
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