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 Public Prosecutor’s Office Opposes the Release of Jailed Catalan Civil Society Leader Jordi Cuixart

The Spanish Public Prosecutor’s Office opposes the release of jailed Catalan civil society leader and president of Òmnium, Jordi Cuixart, while the Constitutional Court (TC) reviews the sentence resulted from the 2017 independence referendum. The prosecutor considers the prison sentence too high to be suspended. After hearing the parties’ pronouncement, the TC will have to make a decision.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office also declared that the sentence must be completed in order to ensure the “deterrent” effect in the face of possible crimes that may be committed by the rest of society.

Òmnium has reprimanded Pedro Sánchez for missing “the last chance to correct the violation of rights before going to European courts.” The entity emphasizes that the prosecution has taken this decision, ignoring the calls of Amnesty International and major international human rights organizations.

Òmnium vice-president, Marcel Mauri, also reminded that Sánchez said that “the public prosecutor was under his orders” and that it is the same prosecutor who opposes the freedom of Cuixart and the other political prisoners.

The prisoners filed appeals for protection between February and March, just before the pandemic erupted. This is the last step before they can bring their cases to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, but it is also the step that can be extended the longest because the Constitutional Court usually takes years to resolve this type of appeal.

Spanish Prosecutor Opposes Jailed Catalan Leader Jordi Sànchez’s Leave Because The Purpose Of His Imprisonment Is To “Intimidate The Whole Society”

The Public Prosecutor’s Office has filed an appeal at the Barcelona High Court against the decision to grant jailed Catalan leader Jordi Sànchez permission, based on the article 100.2, to leave prison to work and volunteer for a few hours each week.

The prosecutor argues that prison sentences must serve to set a social example:

“The purpose of re-education and social reintegration indicated in article 25.2 of the Constitution has the purpose of special prevention and social intimidation to dissuade people in the commission of new crimes,” argues the public prosecutor.

“This means that when it comes to crimes considered serious, as analyzed here, the penalty must be identified by society and then affected as an effective sanction, in order to maintain confidence in the state of Law and in the good functioning of the Public Administration, affirming the maxim that Justice is equal for all,” he adds.

The prosecutor criticized the judge who endorsed the permission for Jordi Sànchez and scorned voluntary service of political prisoners. “If volunteering is the alternative to staying in a Penitentiary Center, the choice seems clear and lacks all merit,” he concluded.

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!”

Jailed Catalan Leader Oriol Junqueras Prepares an Appeal to the General Court of the European Union (EGC)

The defense of jailed Catalan leader Oriol Junqueras is preparing an appeal in the General Court of the European Union (EGC) against the decision of the European Parliament to exclude him as Member of the European Parliament (MEP). Precautionary measures will be required for the EGC to suspend the decision of David Sassoli, President of the Euro-Chamber, and the court will have to determine whether to accept it within a few hours after the appeal is presented.

The General Court of the European Union (EGC) is a constituent Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). It hears cases against institutions of the European Union by individuals and member states.

According to article 263 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), any citizen can file an appeal against the acts of European institutions that directly affect him/her. The procedure for this appeal may take several months, but the precautionary measures will be pronounced immediately, a few hours after the petition has been registered. The EGC could accept or reject them. If they are accepted, the European Parliament will be obliged to recognize Junqueras as an MEP again.

The parallel route to the ECJ

In parallel with the appeal to the EGC, Junqueras’ defense will file an appeal against the Spanish Supreme Court’s decision to keep him in prison. If this move fails, Junqueras’ defense will appeal to the Spanish Constitutional Court for violation of his political and constitutional rights. The next and final step would be to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The EU ParliamentDecision to Recognize Jailed and Exiled Catalan Leaders, Junqueras, Puigdemont and Comín, Causes Political Turmoil

On Monday, the news that the exiled and jailed Catalan leaders Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Oriol Junqueras will be allowed to take up their seats as Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) caused immediate political turmoil in Spain. The European Parliament officially announced that it will recognize the Catalan leaders as MEPs through a communique during the morning. This decision came after the European Court of Justice ruled on December 19 that the Catalans leaders have immunity.

While Catalan authorities celebrated the EU Parliament decision, the Spanish far-right and the right-wing, which had been attempting to prevent them from becoming MEPs, accused the EU Parliament of violating Spanish sovereignty and suggested that there had been an under the table agreement between the EU authorities and pro-independence forces, though no evidence was presented.

Regarding Spain’s Electoral Authority’s decision on barring Catalan President Torra from office and to veto Junqueras from becoming MEP despite the European Court of Justice immunity ruling, Torra said he was “proud that both the Catalan Parliament and the EU Parliament had disregarded Spain’s electoral Authority.”

Puigdemont’s lawyer, Gonzalo Boye, first tweeted a prompt “mission accomplished.” Later he demanded also the annulment of the trial over the 2017 independence referendum because “the trial shouldn’t have taken place due to Junqueras’ immunity.”

Junqueras’ lawyer, Andreu Van den Eynde, called for his client’s release: “Junqueras is an MEP. He has parliamentary immunity. He must be released to be able to go to the European Parliament.”

Spanish far-right and right-wing reaction

The three main unionist parties, Ciutadans (C’s), People’s Party (PP) and the far-right Vox asked the EU Parliament to revoke its decision recognizing the Catalan leaders as MEPs.

The spokesperson of the PP in the EU Parliament, Dolors Montserrat, accused the EU Parliament President, Sassoli, of an under the table agreement with those seeking Catalan independence. In a letter, Montserrat also recalled that the Spain’s Electoral Authority (JEC) ruled that Junqueras cannot be an MEP because he has been convicted by the Supreme Court. She also defended that the JEC is a “legitimate and competent” body in Spain.

The head of Cs’ delegation to the European Parliament, Luís Garicano, called on the chamber’s president, David Sassoli, to “revoke” and “reconsider” as well as to take into account the Spanish electoral authority veto. Garicano also announced that his party had already appealed the decision.

The head of the People’s Party in Spain, Pablo Casado, criticized the Socialist government’s “inaction” on the matter and called on Sassoli to “revoke his decision on Junqueras, who has been sentenced and barred from office for sedition and misuse of funds.” He also added that his party would “always defend Spanish institutions and respect for the law.”

The leader of the far-right party Vox, Santiago Abascal, accused Brussels of “trampling over Spanish sovereignty” and said that “the enemies of Spain in Europe want to take advantage of us having a treacherous prime minister to weaken our nation further.”

What to Expect after the Upcoming Independence Trial Verdict

The Independence Trial verdict on the 12 Catalan leaders is expected to be announced tomorrow Monday. Mass demonstrations and political responses are expected if they are found guilty. Here’s a guide on what to expect in the hours and days following the verdict:

Catalan Government Response

President Torra has been saying for months that he will “not accept” the decision if the Catalan leaders are found guilty. He affirms that the parliament will articulate a response based on “democracy, self-determination and human rights.” However, he has not disclosed yet what this might mean.

Protests

Pro-independence organizations such as Òmnium and ANC have already called for “mass peaceful demonstrations” once the verdict is out, such as halting vehicles, using their horns, making noise, and protesting in the streets.

The ANC is also expected to call for demonstrations in undisclosed places that they will announce a few hours before the protests take place.

Marches

ANC and Òmnium will organize “Marches for Freedom” in the next few days after the verdict is out. They will kick off from the cities of Girona, Vic, Berga, Tàrrega and Tarragona, and each route will consist of walking 100 kilometers over three days, from Wednesday to Friday. This action is inspired by the historical marches of Gandhi’s Salt March and Martin Luther King Jr’s March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

General strike

The Catalan trade union Intersindical-CSC has called a general strike for Friday, October 18. The student’s union Sindicat d’Estudiants has also announced a three-day strike from October 16 to October 18.

Spanish Government Response

The Spanish government may suspend Catalonia’s self-rule, depending on the response from the pro-independence camp.  Spanish acting PM Pedro Sánchez (PSOE) appears to embrace the same repressive strategy as his right-winger predecessor Mariano Rajoy (PP).

President Torra Urges Catalan Parliament’s Speaker Roger Torrent to Be Prepared to Reinstate Exiled Leader Carles Puigdemont as President

On Saturday, President Torra urged Catalan Parliament’s Speaker Roger Torrent to be prepared to reinstate exiled leader Carles Puigdemont as President. It came a few hours after Torrent called for a “national unity government” of pro-independence and republican parties as one of the possible responses to the upcoming Independence Trial verdict.

In an interview for the ACN news agency on Saturday morning, Torrent said that President Torra must have his formula on the table and, if the occasion is given, it must be able to be materialized.

Torrent: “A national unity government is a good formula which would represent 80% of society.”

Nevertheless, Torra argued that all institutions, including the Parliament, will have to lead the reaction to the verdict during a period of “democratic confrontation [with Spain].”

Torra has insisted for months that any verdict other than the acquittal must have a democratic response based on the exercise of the right to self-determination.

This past weekend a new independentist summit took place in Switzerland with representatives of the pro-independence parties and the organizations JxCat, ERC, CUP, ANC and Òmnium. The aim of the meeting was to find strategic unity over the next few months.

The ANC Urges the Catalans to Use the Mobilizations of the Independence Trial Verdict Response to “Take Strength” to Resume Unilateralism

Last week, the President of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Elisenda Paluzie, urged the Catalans to use “the impulse of the upcoming Independence Trial verdict” to make demonstrations capable of forcing the Catalan government to recover unity and re-make a roadmap for independence.

Paluzie also said that according to the roadmap of the ANC, unilateralism must be resumed when pro-independence parties get over 50% of the total votes in a Catalan general election. In this regard, she said that unilateralism is “complex” and that it must be “reinforced” with the legitimization of the votes.

The President of the ANC admitted that there is “disparity” within the pro-independence movement, but that has also occurred on other occasions, such as in 2012 and 2013. For this reason, she insisted on calling for unity “in the face of the foreseeable condemnation of the political leaders and entities that serves to resume the path to independence and bring the objective back on the top of the agenda.”

Regarding the discomfort expressed by ERC with ANC’s strategy in the last few weeks, Paluzie pointed out that “it depends on the moment and the strategy adopted, the ANC may disturb one party or another.” She also made it clear that if there were people who ever insulted ERC leaders in a demonstration, it is an “isolated fact that the ANC does not support at all […] we have to be very hard in the content, but very elegant in the forms,” added Elisenda Paluzie