The Self-Proclaimed “Most Progressive Government in History” Helps Former King, Juan Carlos I, Flee Spain Over Corruption and Money Laundering Allegations

On Monday, the Spanish Royal House confirmed what many already knew: former King Juan Carlos I had fled Spain following allegations of crimes of corruption and money laundering that have harmed the reputation of the monarchy including his son, King Felipe VI. According to the Spanish media, Juan Carlos is currently staying in a luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

He is currently under investigation by the Spanish Supreme Court 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.

The former king lost his immunity in June 2014 following his abdication, meaning he can be tried in Spain, though there are suspicions the Spanish Supreme Court, a body never reformed during the so-called “transition,” could favor him.

The self-proclaimed “most progressive government in history” officially said it “respected” the decision of the King Emeritus to leave Spain. 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.

Podemos party said that they did not know anything about the negotiations, even though they are a part of the government. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, Podemos should have quit the coalition immediately. Instead, its leader, Pablo Iglesias, called for people to understand that PSOE and Podemos have different views of the monarchy and ruled out any risk of rupture of the coalition government.

What Podemos seems to forget is that they are co-responsible for any action taken by the government — they form part of it. The reality is that their government allegedly helped Juan Carlos flee the country in the midst of serious investigations for alleged corruption and money laundering — this is unacceptable.

Sooner or later, an international independent investigation should take place into how Juan Carlos fled the country. Many clarifications are still needed:

– Did he flee the country with an official plane?

– Does he still have an official escort?

– Has the government provided him any financial assistance?

– What government/s are giving him sanctuary?

– Who allowed him to go?

– What are the legal aspects of this?

– Did the government do anything illegal in negotiating his exit while he is being investigated?

– etc.

Whether this investigation will take place in the future is still unknown, but this case has already shown that the so-called “most progressive government in history,” is not so very progressive and is actually contributing to the shoring up of the 78 regime.

Catalan Political Prisoners Granted 3rd Degree Category Status, Lowest Prison Category

On Tuesday, the Generalitat (Catalan government) ratified the 3rd degree category status for all the Catalan political prisoners. The “semi-liberty” regime means they can leave prison on weekends, but continue to spend weeknights behind bars.

They were locked behind bars during a 2 year long pre-trial detention before being sentenced last October to serve prison terms of 9 to 13 years by Spain’s Supreme Court, an unfair decision that caused social unrest across the country.

On July 2, the prison boards proposed the 3rd degree status for the nine jailed Catalan leaders: Carme Forcadell, Dolors Bassa, Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Turull, Raül Romeva, Josep Rull, Joaquim Forn, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez. This was ratified by the Catalan justice department on Tuesday.

Nevertheless, the final decision rests with the Spanish Supreme Court. The Prosecutor’s Office has already announced that it will appeal. Awaiting the court’s final decision, the jailed Catalan leaders will continue enjoying the third degree status.

Minister of the Presidency, Meritxell Budó, said on this matter: “I could tell them that it is good news that they have given the third degree to the prisoners, but they should be released.”

Jailed Catalan leader Raül Romeva: “Third degree is just another way to continue to pay a 12-year prison sentence and disqualification.”

Romeva: “Tonight I will spend my 875th night in prison. Tomorrow, the 876th. And so on, because the third degree status is just another way to continue serving a sentence of 12 years in prison and disqualification. Freedom is not the third degree, but it is amnesty. “

It’s worth mention that the third degree (“semi-liberty”) regime is not freedom. The jailed Catalan leaders are political prisoners who should not have been sent to prison in the first place, as several international human rights organizations have repeatedly said.

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.

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.

The Spanish Constitutional Court To Decide Whether To Admit Catalan Political Prisoners’ Convictions’ Appeals On May 6

The Constitutional Court has called for a session on May 6 to decide, amongst other matters, whether to admit writs of appeal by seven of the nine Catalan political prisoners: Jordi Turull, Jordi Sànchez, Josep Rull, Jordi Cuixart, Dolors Bassa, Carme Forcadell and Joaquim Forn.

The Catalan leaders are appealing against their conviction last October for sedition and misuse of public funds. This appeal, which is expected to be admitted but put on standby, is the preliminary step that will enable the political prisoners to appeal their convictions to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg – a process that usually takes between 4 and 7 years.

The nine leaders were convicted last October for their role in the 2017 independence referendum. Their sentences prompted massive social unrest across the country, which ended with hundreds of detentions and prosecutions.

The two political prisoners who will not be part of the May hearing, Oriol Junqueras and Raül Romeva, appealed their sentences last year.

Juan Carlos I, Former Spain’s King, Closed a Bank Account in Switzerland Because the Government Tightened the Anti-Corruption Legislation

Juan Carlos I, Spain’s former king, closed an account in a Swiss Bank in June, 2012, because the government had tightened the anti-corruption legislation. This is stated in the international letters rogatory that the Swiss Prosecutor’s Office sent to the judge of the Villarejo case, Manuel García-Castellón. It was reported by El País newspaper on Monday.

The prosecutor Yves Bertossa declared that the account of the Lucum Foundation, whose first beneficiary is Juan Carlos I, was closed “due to the new Swiss tax legislation” and adds that the then head of state “signed an order to transfer the balance of Lucum’s account to Corinna Larsen (the ex-lover of Spain’s former King) in the name of Solare Investors Corporation at Gonet and Cie Bank in Nassau, Bahamas.”

In this way, Corinna Larsen kept the funds of the Lucum Foundation, whose second beneficiary is the current head of the Spanish State, Felipe VI. The king of Spain was informed a year ago by Corinna Larsen’s lawyers of his situation and then, according to the Royal Household, he went to the notary to renounce his father’s inheritance, although experts in Civil Law emphasize that it is just a gesture because you cannot give up the living inheritance of the owner of the money.

Prosecutor Bertossa is investigating an alleged crime of “aggravated money laundering” and the alleged payment of commissions for the work of the AVE from Medina to Mecca built by a consortium of Spanish companies led by OHL. According to the prosecutor, the winning bidders had granted in their offer a “30 percent discount” for the alleged intercession of the king, who would have taken 64.8 million euros in exchange.

Spain’s King Felipe VI Renounces his Inheritance from his Father in an Attempt to Save the Monarchy

On Monday, Spain’s King Felipe VI renounced his inheritance from his father and stripped the former King Juan Carlos of his £175,000-a-year royal income in order to save himself amid a growing social repulsion against the monarchy. The calls for his abdication following a finance scandal served as a catalyst for the new king to take drastic action.

Swiss prosecutors are investigating an offshore account allegedly operated for Felipe VI’s father Juan Carlos, 82, which is suspected to have received €88 million from Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah in 2008. According to the newspaper La Tribune de Genève, prosecutors believe the fund could be linked to kickback payments after the former monarch helped to broker business deals with Saudi Arabia while still in power.

On Saturday, March 14, The Telegraph reported that Felipe was named as a beneficiary of an offshore fund that controls the Swiss account with an alleged 65 million euro gift ($72 million USD) from Saudi Arabia, given to his father when he was on the throne. In 2012, around $65 million (€57 million) was transferred from this account to Corinna Larsen, a Monaco-based businesswoman and ex-lover of Juan Carlos.

Larsen told the investigators in 2018 that the money was a donation from the former king after a recording emerged in which she allegedly claimed she was a frontwoman Liaison for his portfolio abroad for his assets abroad.

The reports also say that she will file a lawsuit against the former head of Spanish intelligence, Félix Sanz Roldán, for allegedly organizing an intimidation campaign against her continually, from 2012, when he learned of her relationship with the former king.

The Mossos Confirm that the Spanish Police Officer Shot at least Twice at Roger Español

The Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan police) has concluded that the rubber bullet that seriously injured Roger Español, who lost an eye, in Barcelona on October 1st, 2017, was the second shot by a Spanish police officer in that area. This report was presented before the judge at the case open by the Court of Instruction No. 7 of Barcelona and was ratified by the authors. The report also identifies the officer involved in the two shootings, which coincides with a private expert report commissioned by the defense of Español and the Iridia Center for the defense of human rights. Specifically, it was agent UC563.

According to judicial sources, the agents have explained to the judge that for the identification of the gunman in question they have made two analyses: one of clothing and other of traceability.

The dress analysis has identified the gunman who shot Español by several elements that differentiate him from his companions: he does not wear shin guards, has the ammunition bag open and wears gloves.

The recordings and photographs show two consecutive sequences: in the first you see the officer pointing at Español just as he is about to hit a flat object lying on the ground towards the police line. The Mossos say that the officer shot at him at this time, although they do not specify if it was only a projectile or a rubber bullet. After that, Español returned to the sidewalk.

In the second sequence, the identified gunman makes the same movement and disappears from view behind containers on the same sidewalk where Español is located. After several moves, he shoots for the second time. In this case, it was a rubber bullet that hit Español.  

The fact that Español was shot at more than once reinforces the thesis that this was not a random response, as the now-identified officer stated earlier this week in court. This would allow him to be tried at the felony of intentional injury and not recklessness.

Scandal: Carlos Vidal, a Member of the Spanish Electoral Authority (JEC) who Participated in the Vote to Disqualify the President of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, and MEP Oriol Junqueras, was a Member of PP Party Until a Few Weeks Before his Appointment

Carlos Vidal, one of the members of the Spanish Electoral Board (JEC) who voted to disqualify the President of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, and MEP Oriol Junqueras, was a member of the right-wing party PP until a few weeks before his appointment, InfoLibre informs.

When asked by InfoLibre, Vidal admits that he did not mention that he was a member of PP to members of the Congress because he no longer had a party membership. “Nothing should be mentioned,” he says. In addition, he says that he did not intend to abstain from voting on pro-independence politicians because he believes “there was no reason to do so.”

This information comes after the scandal of Andrés Betancor, another JEC member who worked as a C’s party advisor while also fulfilling his duties in the central electoral body. He participated in the exclusion of the candidature of Carles Puigdemont in the 2019 European elections and banned the nominations of exiled Catalan leaders Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí.

President Quim Torra, who has filed a lawsuit agaisnt Andrés Betancor for prevarication and election crime, has also spoken on the news about Carlos Vidal and the PP party in a tweet: “Everyone has the right to have their cause heard equally and publicly and within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial court …” Art 47. Letter of Fundamental Rights EU. PP members judging us. How far Europe is!”

Josep Borrell Hired Seven Communication Agencies to Improve Spain’s Image

The former Spanish Foreign Minister, Josep Borrell, hired seven communication agencies from the United States, Belgium, United Kingdom, Switzerland, France, Mexico and Germany respectively to improve the international image of Spain. This has been confirmed by the Pedro Sánchez administration in response to a parliamentary question by EH Bildu MP Jon Iñarritu.

Last October, Ambassador Santiago Cabanas of the Spanish embassy in Washington announced that it had hired the Glover Park Group agency to “strengthen the communications policy in a difficult time.” He asserted that the independence story was one of the challenges to be countered. The monthly contract was worth fifteen thousand euros.

“It should be noted that similar contracts have been signed, more or less simultaneously, of the same duration and with the same objective, through our embassies in France, Belgium, Germany, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Mexico,” said the Spanish executive.

The Spanish government says that these types of contracts “are not uncommon in the Spanish state’s foreign action” and that they focus on many different areas. For example, the Spanish administration describes Spain’s image in the USA as “very positive.” In this regard, they limit the agreement to the goal of “reinforcing the relationship with American media and opinion leaders.”

Here is the full response from the Spanish government to Jon Iñarritu: