May 28, 2014

PIERS MORGAN on MONTE CARLO & MONACO - Billionaire's, Supercars, Yachts, Tax Haven & Gamour

PIERS MORGAN on MONTE CARLO & MONACO - Billionaire's, Supercars, Yachts, Tax Haven. FULL EPISODE
Monaco has more billionaires per square foot than anywhere else on the planet and is not much bigger than London's Hyde Park. What it's like to live in such a world of extreme wealth?
In this documentary series, Piers Morgan explores three of the world's most glamorous and fascinating places.
Think Monte Carlo and you probably imagine a sprawling, impossibly glamorous playground for the rich and famous on the French Riviera, the size of, say, Brighton.
It took me 38 seconds to fly over it in a helicopter for an ITV1 television documentary (it will be broadcast on Thursday at 9pm). Monaco measures just 0.75 square miles of the Côte d'Azur, with Monte Carlo being a fraction of that.
Beautiful people: Piers Morgan relaxes in Monte Carlo with Czech supermodel Teresa Maxova
But don't be fooled. For once, size really isn't everything. Monaco is officially the world's most densely populated sovereign country, and almost every one of the 33,000 people resident there is seriously rich.
It is estimated that Monaco houses 2,000 millionaires and 50 billionaires, many of them living within the ward of Monte Carlo, making it the wealthiest place, per head and per square foot, on Earth. The star-studded resident list includes Sir Philip Green, Shirley Bassey, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou of easyJet, and Sir Roger Moore. And there's one reason why most of them live there - tax. Or, rather, the lack of it.
Monaco is a tax-free haven. And the simplest way of understanding what this means is to talk to one of the 2,000 or so British expats who live there, such as chemicals tycoon Mike Peagram.
He sold his business eight years ago for £44 million, and by immediately moving to Monte Carlo for the next five years (the minimum time you have to live there to qualify for tax exemption), he saved himself £13million in capital gains tax.
These tax rules are simple, but vigorously enforced. You can spend a maximum of 90 days a year in Britain during the qualifying period. If you keep to the rules, then your tax bill is zero. Nought pence. Not a sausage.
But Mike liked it so much in Monte Carlo he decided to stay. And who can blame him? When I saw him, he was driving an Aston Martin, dined most nights in the array of glittering five-star restaurants, woke up to warm sunshine most days, walked through pristine streets (they are washed every day), saw no graffiti, and knew he could leave his house or car unlocked all day.
'Anything money can buy is available,' he told me, with a self-satisfied chortle. 'Whether that's great hotels, food, music, theatre, cars. Anything.'
Dining in the Alain Ducasse restaurant in the Hotel de Paris could set you back at least £1,000 with a nice bottle of wine. Even a Diet Coke in one of the cafés by the Monte Carlo Casino set me back nearly a tenner. I passed a watch shop, and saw one in the window for sale at £1million!
The glorious weather, lavish lifestyle, guaranteed privacy and proximity to many great European cities make Monaco an attractive option for celebrities. But even they are unashamed about what the big draw really is.
spent an amusing morning with Formula 1 racing star David Coulthard, who fled to Monaco 15 years ago and now owns a hotel there called the Columbus. When I asked him what made him move there in the first place, he laughed and said simply: 'Tax!'
'I've probably saved tens of millions of pounds by living here, and my quality of life has been fantastic.' Coulthard, who won the Monaco Grand Prix twice, quickly fell in love with the place, and has never left.
U2 rock star Bono, who I bumped into one evening during filming, summed it up more succinctly: 'Best thing about Monaco? No f****** paparazzi!' monaco "monte carlo" france "cote d azur" "monaco casino" casino harbor yacht "monte carlo casino" wealth wealthy elite mafia billionaire millionaire "super rich" future glamor rich richest "piers morgan" documentary media roulette lamborghini helicopet "grand prix" "monaco f1" ferrari "tax haven" "mega rich" lifestyle "james bond" happyness money euro work employment expat playground paradise tax cash bugatti 2013 2014 villa apartment condo lottery lotto "monaco address" economy "real estate" zillionaireclub But paradise doesn't come cheap. Property is absurdly expensive. The world's most expensive street for homes lies at its heart, in Avenue Princess Grace.
As I admired the view, I casually asked Michel how much it cost, and the answer nearly sent me flying over the balcony. '£60million.'
I turned to where he was pointing, and saw a slightly bigger duplex in the same block. 'But then, the view is the best in Monaco.'
'At least half,' he said. Monaco's astonishing property boom - prices rose by 25 per cent in 2007 - will be affected by the credit crunch, but Michel is confident that it won't make much difference.

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