Novak Djokovic to face off against Charles Leclerc in World Stars football match

Novak Djokovic at the 2023 Monte-Carlo Masters

The stars of the sporting world, including drivers from the Formula One grid, will descend on the Stade Louis II next Tuesday for the annual World Stars Football Match, which will notably pit Charles Leclerc up against Novak Djokovic.

Star Team For The Children MC will come up against All Star Drivers in this year’s event, which will take place on Tuesday 23rd May at 19:00. As always, it will pit some of the biggest stars from the sporting world against the world’s fastest drivers, just days before the 80th edition of the Monaco Grand Prix.

Players such as former Paris Saint-Germain winger Jérémy Menez and Jérôme Rothen will be the most at home on the turf of the Louis II. However, Djokovic, and jet-ski World Champion Lisa Battaglia will be in more unfamiliar surroundings. They are joined by Flavio Roma, Frédéric Déhu, Claude Puel, Sébastien Pérez, Greg Campi and Valentin Liénard in lining up for Star Team For The Children MC.

Close friends Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly on the same team

Leclerc, who annually competes in another charitable football match, the Fight AIDS Cup, will once again play for the All Stars Driver team. He will be joined by Pierre Gasly, who this year is racing for Alpine, and who is a close friend of Leclerc. The pair recently attended the Monte-Carlo Masters together.

Charles Leclerc supporting compatriot Romain Arneodo alongside fellow Formula One driver Pierre Gasly at the 2023 Monte-Carlo Masters – by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

Leclerc’s Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz will also be present, as will Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso. Sébastien Frey, Pecco Bagnaia, Stefano Domenicali, Ivan Capelli, and former Grand Prix winner Giancarlo Fisichella will also all be present.

“We want to thank the 285 members, the players, the celebrities, the public and the sponsors that have joined us over the years. Thanks to them and their help, we can continue our sporting and charitable events in order to raise funds and help disadvantaged children,” said Mauro Serra, President of the Star Team for the Children MC and organiser of the event.

Tickets can be bought, Saturday 20th May (09:00-18:00), Sunday 21st May (09:00-13:00), Monday 22nd May (09:00-18:00) and Tuesday 23rd May (09:00-18:00). Tickets cost just €16 and entry for children under the age of 14 go free if accompanied by an adult.

As well as being a fun crossover, including some of the world’s most recognisable sports stars, the event sets the tone for the week ahead, which culminates in the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday – and all for a charitable cause.

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Photo by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

National Council wants government to speed up legal texts on money laundering

The National Council has expressed concern over what it says is the government’s delay in delivering legal texts designed to meet Moneyval requirements.

According to the National Council, only one text out of the four expected has reached its office.

Meanwhile, it says, the legislative timetables mentioned in the legislative monitoring committee involving members of the Government and the National Council, and also the financial crime task force, indicated the end of the spring session as the objective for voting on these texts.

“The National Council regrets that a situation similar to that experienced by the National Councilors in November 2022 is repeated, despite repeated requests from the High Assembly,” said the Council in a public statement on 16th May. “The National Council intends to have the time necessary for a responsible study of these texts, announced as voluminous and very technical, especially since, for most of them, they could have significant consequences on certain aspects of the functioning of the Monegasque economy and global associations.”

A report released by Moneyval, the Council of Europe’s anti-money-laundering body, on 23rd January encouraged Monaco to “further strengthen measures to combat money laundering (ML) and financing of terrorism (FT), in particular when it comes to investigating and prosecuting money laundering, confiscating and recovering proceeds of crime as well as strengthening its supervisory system”.

It placed the Principality in the category of “country under enhanced surveillance”.

The Prince’s Government immediately responded with a commitment to meet the necessary targets.

But the National Council says the government is lagging on its commitment.

“At this stage, the Government has not, in this regard, kept to the deadlines announced, and has therefore not respected its commitments. Under no circumstances, therefore, can the National Council be held responsible for future delays in voting on these texts, since these bills have to date still not been tabled with the Bureau of the Assembly.”



Monaco to “step up” financial crime action after damning Moneyval report


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Top Marques Monaco gives airport passengers a sneak peak of what’s to come

Travelers arriving at Nice Côte d’Azur airport are being treated to an exceptional supercar exhibition thanks to a new partnership with Top Marques Monaco.

To give car enthusiasts a taste of what is to come at this year’s edition of Top Marques Monaco, which is taking place from 7th to 11th June, three luxury cars are being displayed at Nice Airport and Cannes Mandelieu Airport, from 17th to 30th May.

The exhibition is taking place during the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix, two events which attract tens of thousands of international visitors each year.

Visitors disembarking at Nice (Terminal 1) will be able to admire the iconic Alpine A110 and the Dallara Stradale, whilst a Formula 2 Lotus belonging to Boutsen Classic Cars is on display at Cannes-Mandelieu.

The supercar displays, organised in partnership with ACA and Sky Valet, offer a unique opportunity for luxury car enthusiasts to have a sneak preview of these exceptional vehicles before the official opening of the 18th edition of Top Marques Monaco, being held under the High Patronage of Prince Albert II at the Grimaldi Forum.


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Photo source: Top Marques Monaco

Tesla and Ikea amongst those pledging to “Choose France” for investment

Dozens of major international companies, including the likes of Tesla and Ikea, have announced investment intentions equalling €13 billion at the recent Choose France summit.  

Choose France held its sixth edition on 15th May in Versailles and attracted a large group of some 200 business leaders, who came together under one roof to look at the opportunities and reasons for foreign investment in France.  

The event was a success in that a total of 28 entities have since said they will invest in France, and not for chump change, but in a big way. The total cash investment came to a record €13 billion, as well as the creation of 8,000 new jobs. This makes the fourth year running for France as the most attractive European country for foreign investment. 1,259 new projects recorded in 2022.  


Before the summit, French President Emmanuel Macron met with Tesla chief Elon Musk at the Elysée Palace in Paris, ostensibly to woo the billionaire businessman with the merits of having operations in France.  

Musk previously turned France down as an option for building a major factory and chose Germany instead.  

Whilst no formal announcement about investments has been made, Musk, who also lunched with Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire in Versailles, said he was confident Tesla would make “significant investments” in France, though he didn’t give a specific timetable. 

Other big-name investors are US-based pharmaceutical company Pfizer, who has pledged €500 million, and Swedish furniture maker IKEA, who has plans to invest €906 million. Both signalled 2026 as a goal. Investment bank Morgan Stanley has also announced plans to increase staff by 200 people by 2025.  


Created by Macron, the Choose France conference was designed to help potential foreign investors from large international corporations better understand France’s system of promoting economic activity, such as favourable tax credits and green tech investment. It also aims to make clear how important foreign investment is for growth, innovation and employment levels.   

“When a foreign investor chooses France, it’s good for jobs and for our territories,” said Macron. 


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Photo source: Anthony Choren

Macron announces major tax cuts for the middle class

French President Emmanuel Macron has declared he will implement tax cuts up to €2 billion, with the focus on the middle class, who have seen their real incomes gobbled up by inflation and economic stagnation.  

Macron hasn’t been the most popular person in France since his ramming through of the new pension reform bill, which raised the retirement age from 62 to 64. Now, as he tries to claw back his reputation, he has announced a plan to cut taxes by up to €2 billion to help improve the purchasing power of the people, who have been slammed by high inflation and pay that doesn’t keep up with the adjusted costs of living.  

These cuts, aimed mainly at those who, as Macron put it, “work hard to try to raise their children but run out of money by the end of the month due to rising costs of living”, have been created to affect the struggling and dwindling middle class.  


The new policies don’t necessarily mean that income taxes will be going down, and the scheme seems to be in its infancy, with Macron admitting that the government is still looking at different ways to accomplish this lofty goal. Nor did he give a clear timeline except to say that these cuts would be activated by the end of his term in 2027. 

“I don’t want to shut any doors here, there are quite a few intelligent ways [to achieve tax cuts] through [reducing] the social security contributions of employees,” Macron said.   

Though this new plan may be light on detail, Macron’s history of cutting taxes has been good. The Ministry of Economics and Finance revealed €52 billion in cuts during Macron’s first term that included decreases in employee contributions to social security, scrapping the housing tax and TV license fee, and a €4 billion cut in income tax.  


Though this plan is not fully hatched, the president did make clear who his target audience was.  

In an interview with French daily L’Opinion published on Sunday, Macron explained his definition of middle class as those whose take home pay was between €1,500 and €2,500 per month, which in real terms is about half the population, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies.  

By his standards, this means all the people who live in that area between being too well off to get aid, but not rich enough to be entirely comfortable. This assessment seems to be moveable though, depending on what source is used.  

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), for example, has a broader definition of middle class, with up to 68 % of the French population being in this category. Conversely, French economists Thomas Piketty and Lucas Chancel say that only 40% of the population are considered middle class.  

Furthermore, the news may be little more than a diversionary tactic to compensate for the government’s failed attempt to increase wages and to make the bad taste of the pension reform go away.  

The bottom line is that the people may be in for good news or just more “politics as usual”.  


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Photo source: Unsplash

Basketball: Roca Team apologise to opponents prior to Betclic Elite defeat

Yoan Makoundou AS Monaco v Blois

AS Monaco Basketball finished the regular Betclic Elite Season with a defeat against Blois (102-76), but fielded an inexperienced team, for which Roca Team captain Yakuba Ouattara apologised pre-match.

“We apologise to the Blois fans,” were the words of Ouattara in a strange build-up to a dead rubber. Whilst stating that the club “respect every team in the division, including Blois and their fans,” the Roca Team simply couldn’t afford to field an experienced side on Tuesday with the club’s first-ever Euroleague Final Four performance coming up in Kaunas on Friday.

None of the other four teams competing in the Final Four, including semi-final opponents Olympiacos, are playing this weak, forcing Sasa Obradovic to search for sub-optimal solutions.

Career-best stats for Yoann Makoundou

“The schedule problems don’t allow us to find an ideal solution. It is our responsibility to prepare our team in the best possible conditions a few days out from a historic moment for Monaco and for French basketball,” said Obradovic.

The match will be unmemorable and inconsequential, with only Yoan Makoundou and Matthew Strazel the only first-team representatives in a youthful side. Both are still Roca Team youth prospects themselves, but were forced to take on a more experienced role against Blois.

Makoundou (28 points) registered a career-highest score, but it wasn’t enough as Blois won each quarter on their way to a comprehensive victory (102-76). Monaco still finish the season top of the Betclic Elite, and will face Strasbourg in the quarter-finals of the post-season.

However, for now, the focus is firmly on the Euroleague. It will be a historic night in Kaunas for the Roca Team on Friday, regardless of the outcome. Ouattara has described Olympiacos as “the best Euroleague team”, and the battle promises to be fierce.


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Photo by AS Monaco Basket