A Year Since Former King Juan Carlos Fled Spain Over Allegations of Corruption

“Now, guided by the conviction of giving the best service to the Spaniards, to their institutions and to you, as King, I inform you of my deliberate decision to move, for the time being, out of Spain.” With these words, the Emeritus King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, informed the current monarch, Felipe VI, that he was fleeing the state pushed by allegations of corruption, illegal commissions, and money laundering. This move was made to evade justice and to clean up the image of his son and the remaining monarchy.

The ex-king is currently living a life of luxury on Zaya Nuri Island, a 15-minute boat ride from Abu Dhabi, as revealed by Spanish media. “It is an exclusive refuge for potentates, with a five-star hotel complex and eleven large mansions, where restaurants and leisure venues do not have opening hours, but open when their select clientele wishes to visit them. The mansion where the King Emeritus is staying has 1,050 square meters and 4,100 more plots, with six bedrooms, seven toilets, a swimming pool, and access to a private beach.”

Juan Carlos is under the protection of his friend Mohamed bin Zayeb Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince and strongman of the United Arab Emirates and the Spanish state that, despite all the cases of corruption is still providing him personal security through a permanent escort of four agents of the Spanish Civil Guard, to whom the Spanish Ministry of the Interior pays the allowances, salary and travel expenses. To make matters worse, he also has three shift assistants. A cost that has not yet been determined because the Spanish government has refused to make it public.

Investigations on the corruption of Juan Carlos

Illegal commissions

In June 2020, the Supreme Court Prosecutor’s Office started an investigation against Juan Carlos for alleged crimes of money laundering and tax crime. It involves the possible commission of one hundred million dollars for his mediation to give a Spanish company the contract for the construction of a high-speed rail line AVE to join the cities of Medina and Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The millions ended up deposited in the Mirabaud bank in Geneva, Switzerland, in an account owned by an offshore company called the Lucum Foundation – which disappeared in 2012 – of which Juan Carlos was the first beneficiary and his son the second, though the latter ended up renouncing his personal inheritance from his father after it was alleged that he was set to receive millions of euros from a secret offshore fund linked to Saudi Arabia.

Royal black cards

The second case investigates the expenses with opaque credit cards of Juan Carlos and a few relatives. These funds allegedly came from Nicolás Murga Mendoza, assistant to the emeritus king and colonel of the Spanish Air Force, who supposedly acted as an iron fist to facilitate the family’s access to the money of Mexican millionaire Jesús Sanginés-Krause. Bank movements and expenses were made after the abdication of Juan Carlos, so it was no longer inviolable. In relation to this point, the lawyers of the emeritus communicated on December 9 a regularization payment of 678,393.72 euros to the “Tax Authorities” in an attempt to evade justice.

Hidden money on the Island of Jersey

The Public Ministry opened a third investigation seeking to find out whether Juan Carlos hid ten million euros on the island of Jersey. This investigation was opened after receiving a report from the Executive Service of the Bank of Spain’s Money Laundering Prevention Commission (SEPBLAC) on a “hidden fortune.”

Additional Investigations

Switzerland

Prosecutor Yves Bertossa opened an investigation on the offshore structures with which Juan Carlos allegedly managed the “donation” from the Saudi monarchy and other expenses through the entities Zagatka and Lucum. Bertossa is also investigating the donation of part of this money to his ex-lover Corinna Larsen, who sued the monarch and the Spanish secret services before the British High Court for subjecting her to illegal “surveillance” in the United Kingdom “from 2012 to the present.”

Arms trafficking and tax evasion

A recent journalistic investigation published in the newspaper Público indicates that the emeritus would have enriched himself through tax evasion and arms trafficking, as well as through the collection of commissions through a network of businessmen and magnates such as the Saudi Adnan Khashoggi or the king of Saudi Arabia, Salmán Bin Abdulaziz.

The Spanish “Socialist” Party (PSOE-PSC) Once Again Blocks an Investigation Into Spain’s Former King Juan Carlos’ Illicit Accounts

On Wednesday, the Spanish “Socialist” Party (PSOE-PSC) once again blocked the creation of a commission of investigation into Juan Carlos, Spain’s former king’s illicit accounts. This came after the lawyers of Spain’s Congress endorsed such an investigation for the first time, contrary to what they had done before.

PSOE/PSC joined forces with the far-right Vox and the right-wing PP in the Congress Bureau in order to block the admission of the request to investigate the emeritus king in the chamber. It is a procedure that so far has not passed any similar request and that allows the issue to be raised in the Congress.

The request for the creation of a commission of investigation by Podemos argues that the facts to be investigated are subsequent to the abdication of the former monarch, and therefore the criterion of inviolability cannot be applied to him.

Minister of Health Salvador Illa

Spain’s Minister of Health Salvador Illa recently announced his presidential candidacy for PSOE/PSC in the next Catalan election, saying he will call for the formation of a new progressive government if he won the election. But the refusal of his administration to allow an investigation into the alleged corruption of the Spanish monarchy shows once again that his progressive rhetoric is just populist, not real, aimed at manipulating the public opinion to reach power by any means.

If this last episode of failure by this minister and his administration to be progressive is not enough to open people’s eyes, it is important to remember that he, himself, and a number of his colleagues also attended several demonstrations in Catalonia organized by the far right organization Societat Civil Catalana (SCC), some members of which have direct links with neo-Nazi squads.

Therefore, Illa’s victory in the next Catalan elections would be a victory of reactionaries, who if able to form a new government, would have a carte blanche to dismantle any sign of progress across the country.

The Spanish Government Still Provides Protection For Former King Juan Carlos I

On Monday, Spain’s interior minister, Marlaska, confirmed that the Spanish government was still providing protection for former King Juan Carlos I, who fled the country last week over allegations of corruption and money laundering. He is believed to have settled in a luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi. The cost per night is over €10,000.

Marlaska: “It is reasonable and timely that the Minister of the Interior does not give any information about it [where the King is], but what no one can forget is that we are talking about the person who was the head of State in Spain. His security obviously concerns the Spanish state.”

PM Pedro Sánchez affirmed that he didn’t know the whereabouts of the monarch, but the minister of the interior’s statements suggests his administration is closely monitoring the former king’s steps.

Last week, the state-owned public broadcaster RTVE revealed that the government had been negotiating the self-imposed exile of the monarch with the Royal House over a period of weeks, meaning it had helped the monarch to flee the country.

Investigations

Juan Carlos is under investigation in Spain for his role in a deal in which a Spanish consortium landed a €6.7 billion contract to build a high-speed rail line between the Saudi cities of Medina and Mecca.

Swiss prosecutors are also investigating a $100 million bank account held by the monarch in the country. According to the investigations, Juan Carlos allegedly received a “donation” of $100 million from the king of Saudi Arabia that he put in an offshore account in 2008. A few years later, he allegedly “gifted” 65 of those millions from that account to his ex-lover Corinna Larsen.

It is still too early to know whether Swiss and Spanish justice will convict the former king, Juan Carlos I, of corruption and money laundering. However, this case has already shown that the Spanish government has helped someone under investigation over corruption and money laundering to flee the country and is still providing him protection. There is, then, little doubt the Spanish administration is trying to shore up the 78 regime.

Newspaper El Confidencial Reveals the Existence of a Secret Document that Implicates Spain King’s Emeritus Juan Carlos I with the Management of an Instrumental Company to Hide €64.8 Million from Saudi Arabia

On Tuesday, newspaper El Confidencial announced that it had access to a private document signed by Spain’s King’s emeritus, Juan Carlos I, which implicates him in the management of an “offshore” structure used to “hide” €64.8 million euros from Saudi Arabia. In the three documents, Juan Carlos I appears as the first beneficiary of the funds of the Panamanian society, the Lucum Foundation. His son and current King appears as second beneficiary.

The documents show that the Lucum Foundation was created in Panama on July 31, 2008, by a Swiss financial manager, Arturo Fasana, and the lawyer Dante Canonica. Fasana became the president, and Canonica secretary.

The Lucum Foundation was created to act as a front for an account in Switzerland at the Mirabaud bank that received “a donation of €64.8 million made by the King of Saudi Arabia to the King of Spain.”

On March 10, 2011, the Swiss lawyer and Arturo Fasana established the internal regulations by which it would be governed. The new statutes nullified “any previous regime” of the company and appointed Juan Carlos I, King of Spain (Juan Carlos Alfonso Víctor María de Borbón y Borbón) as true owner of the foundation, born on January 5, 1938 in Rome, Italy, meaning that the €64.8 million donation by Saudi Arabia was now property of the Spanish monarch, according to the secret documents. The monarch enjoyed full rights to “freely dispose of the assets of the foundation during his lifetime without any limitation.”

The documents also reveal that if Juan Carlos I died, the money would be under the control of the “second beneficiary,” the current King Felipe VI, “Prince Felipe of Bourbon and Greece, Prince of Asturias, born on January 30, 1968 in Madrid.”

“Following the death of the first beneficiary, the second beneficiary will have the right to dispose of all the assets of the foundation, without any limitation,” the document states.

The conditions for accessing the money
There were some conditions required for Spain’s King Felipe V to access the money from the foundation. According to the documents, the current head of state had to comply the stipulations in his father’s will that the funds that remained after his death be used to “guarantee the maintenance of all members of the Spanish royal family, in particular, from SM Queen Sofía of Spain, to S.A.R. the Infanta Elena de Borbón y Grecia, Duchess of Lugo, and her children born or to be born, of S.A.R. the Infanta Cristina de Borbón y Grecia, Duchess of Palma of Mallorca, and her children born or to be born.”

In other words, in practice, the entire royal family and even possible new members, such as future children of the infantas, appeared as beneficiaries of the account in Switzerland.

Dissolution in 2012
The foundation was dissolved in September 2012. By then, the King Emeritus had only spent a small part of the €64.8 million ($100 million at the time) that he had received from Saudi Arabia as an alleged donation. The monarch transferred the remaining money to his then lover, Corinna Larsen, and closed the Panamanian structure.