Spain’s Supreme Court Public Prosecutor Investigates King Emeritus, Juan Carlos I, for Money Laundering

On Monday, Spain’s Supreme Court Public Prosecutor began proceedings to investigate King Emeritus, Juan Carlos I, for money laundering and fiscal crime. The investigation was initiated by the anti-corruption prosecutor’s office and has now been taken over by the public prosecutor.

The investigation focuses on the criminal activities which occurred after June, 2014, when the monarch abdicated and his immunity, enshrined in article 56.3 of the Spanish constitution as head of state, terminated.

The investigation originates from a case uncovered by the Swiss newspaper, Geneva Tribune, in March. It reported that the Swiss Prosecutor’s Office was investigating a “donation” of $100 million from the King of Saudi Arabia to Spain’s King Emeritus in a Swiss bank account for an alleged inter-mediation in the AVE contract to Mecca.

The transfer was made at the Mirabaud bank of the Panamanian Lucum foundation, linked to the emeritus king in 2008. The king closed the account in 2012 when Switzerland tightened its anti-money laundering legislation and distributed the remaining money to two of his ex-partners: $65 million to Corinna Larsen and $2 million to Marta Gayá.

Corinna Larsen revealed the commission received by Juan Carlos I in a secret conversation with former police Commissioner, José Villarejo, jailed in 2017 for criminal organization, bribery and money laundering. In the conversation, Corinna asserted that the king took that commission and that he used figureheads to hide his fortune. “He does not distinguish between legal and illegal.”

The alleged commission was paid in 2008, but the investigators must determine whether the king laundered money by moving it around, or if he committed a fiscal crime by not informing the Treasury of his income abroad.

Prosecutor Juan Ignacio Campos, an expert in economic cases, will lead the inquiry, which will look into the events in which Juan Carlos was involved from June 2014. The emeritus king cannot be tried for anything occurred before due to his immunity.

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