A controversial investigation by the Prosecutor's Office frees the king emeritus from a lawsuit and smoothes his return to Spain

A controversial investigation by the Prosecutor's Office frees the king emeritus from a lawsuit and smoothes his return to Spain

Juan Carlos of Bourbon will not sit on the bench for the fraudulent management of his fortune abroad. The Prosecutor's Office has decided to file all the aspects of the investigation that has been open for four years to follow the trail of 100 million dollars that arrived from Saudi Arabia, as well as the money that his benefactors used to pay him hundreds of thousands of euros in personal expenses and that never passed through the hands of the Treasury. The keys to his exoneration have nothing to do with the fact that his conduct is not suspicious: they come from the prescription of the facts, from the protection granted by the inviolability of the Crown and, finally, the validity that the Prosecutor's Office gives to its own notices on the opening of investigations.

That the Prosecutor's Office had no intention of denouncing the king emeritus for anything prior to the date of his abdication in 2014 He had known each other for almost two years. In the first statement in which the Public Ministry announced the opening of proceedings, it already specified that until then it had been protected by the inviolability that the Constitution recognizes to the Spanish Crown. And in one of the decrees that files the case, the Prosecutor's Office believes that this inviolability covers the acts carried out while he was king, but also the acts carried out beyond the monarchy: "It extends all its effects to all the acts carried out by the Chief of the State, whether these are developed on the occasion of the exercise of royal functions or outside of these".

The investigation by the Prosecutor's Office, with a large team led by the late Juan Ignacio Campos, has always been far above what is expected of an investigation by the Public Ministry prior to any complaint or file. The prosecutors with the most experience in the area of ​​economic crimes or international law were on top, several rogatory commissions were issued to several countries and interrogations were made to the corporate environment of the monarch emeritus. In addition to the notices that, according to the Prosecutor's Office that issued them, do not remove the validity and sincerity of the regularizations of the king emeritus that came shortly after.

The decrees of the Prosecutor's Office close many doors for multiple reasons but make it clear that they were doors through which the current of tax crimes and bribery passed. It happens when investigators study the 100 million dollars that the king of Saudi Arabia deposited in the account that the monarch's Lucum Foundation had in the Swiss bank Mirabaud. An income that came with the indication of being an "amount sent by King Abdallah of Saudi Arabia as a gift according to Saudi tradition for other monarchies" and that has always been related to the participation of Juan Carlos I in the award of the construction site from the AVE to Mecca to a consortium in which Spanish companies participated.

The gift existed and the money was never declared to the Treasury and deserves the qualification of "suspicious" but for the Prosecutor's Office there is no evidence to link it with the award of the project. "The indications are extraordinarily weak (...) clearly it is about insufficient indicative elements, without incriminating univocity," says the letter from the Public Ministry. This rules out a possible crime of corruption in business and for the Prosecutor's Office it does not reach bribery either. Neither this income of 100 million dollars nor another made in 2010 by the Sultan of Bahrain. But it does not arrive because, in addition, the investigators have arrived too late: "This conduct would be clearly prescribed," says the Prosecutor's Office.

For the Prosecutor's Office, therefore, there is no evidence that the 100 million dollars from Saudi Arabia and the million and a half euros from Bahrain were a commission, some kind of gift or bribe, but simply gifts although on this last transfer acknowledges that there is insufficient data. And in any case, remember, inviolability works in his favor because all this happened before his abdication in 2014.

There was also no money laundering, says the Prosecutor's Office, after analyzing the flow of money in and out of the accounts of The Lucum Foundation del rey founded in 2008 in Panama with illustrious names of the world offshore in his Council: Arturo Fasana, Dante Canonica and Harmodio Tejeira. In this crime, the inviolability of the king also stands as an insurmountable wall between him and the bench, because the Prosecutor's Office does explain that there were indications of criminality in the 2012 transfer with which Juan Carlos de Borbón spent all the assets of the Foundation to the Solare account, in a bank in Nassau, as a donation in favor of his then-lover Corinna Larsen. That "would allow, in principle, to consider the demands fulfilled" of the crime but, and although it would not be prescribed, it cannot be prosecuted due to the protection that the Constitution grants to the Spanish crown.

This inviolability of the Crown, recalls the Prosecutor's Office, not only affects the acts that he could commit in the exercise of his office: also anything else. And where neither the inviolability nor the prescription arrive, the regularizations of the king arrive, who made peace with the Treasury twice after knowing that he was being investigated. A communication from the Prosecutor's Office arrived on June 24, 2020 and another on November 6, 2020 and the regularizations, worth more than 5 million euros in two batches, came later. "Neither in the decrees of initiation of both investigative proceedings nor in the respective notifications was there a reference to the facts," explains the Prosecutor's Office.

The Penal Code allows a tax fraudster to avoid the dock if he pays his debt before an investigation is opened or before he knows he is being investigated. The Supreme Court made it clear in 2019 that a notification blocked this effect of impunity. The prosecution You understand that your notices, often preceded by explicit news in the media, do not prevent their regularizations from being honest in the eyes of researchers. He even alleges that they themselves did not know what they were investigating when they told him and, therefore, he could not know it either.

This also puts out of the fight any possible accusation for fiscal crime for all the money that Juan Carlos de Borbón used - he and some relatives - over the years from business friends, often in the form of plane tickets. For example, the 516,000 euros that came out of the pockets of the Mexican businessman Allen Sanginés-Krause and that went to the monarch, or the "considerable expenses" that the Zagatka Foundation of his cousin, Álvaro de Orleans. the opaque cards revealed by elDiario.es and that nourished the monarch and his entourage with liquidity for years.

In the case of the Mexican businessman, the Prosecutor's Office explains that "the fee for each of the donations is notably less than 120,000 euros" so, once the regularization is approved, there is no fiscal crime. But in the case of the expenses paid by the foundation of his cousin, that door was open before regularization, since according to the Prosecutor's Office there was "a defrauded fee of more than 120,000 euros." The money from these million-dollar regularizations came from the pockets of business friends who, as El País revealed, opted for the option that allowed them to pay the least amount possible to the Treasury.

A 'trust' allows a person to transfer part of their assets to be managed by another person or 'trustee' in favor of the people who are designated as beneficiaries or for the purpose for which it was created. And in October 2020 the alarms of the Executive Service of the Commission for the Prevention of Money Laundering (Seplac) about one of them called 'The JRM 2004 Trust' and based on the island of Jersey, considered a tax haven. The researchers tried to find out if there was any link with the monarch because, at the origin of this 'trust' there were two others founded in the 90s and that were linked to Juan Carlos de Borbón: Tartessos and Hereu.

In this case, time has also played in favor of the monarch emeritus. Not because of the possible prescription, but because, as the Prosecutor recognizes, "there is currently no documentation available, possibly the origin of the funds with which they were created will never be known with total certainty," he says. But he makes it clear that those two 'trusts' of which the then king was a beneficiary were the ones that provided the funds for the constitution of which he made the anti-money laundering authorities suspect.

The Prosecutor's Office affirms that "there is no indication whatsoever" that allows linking this 'trust with the emeritus monarch, "neither in its management nor in the ability to dispose of the funds." And here the numbers come into play again: the funds withdrawn after the abdication of the monarch, even if they had gone into his pocket, would not have been a crime either, since they were much lower than the legal red lines. "The successive provisions on beneficiaries are completely foreign to SMD Juan Carlos de Borbón", ditch.

The result of two years of centralized investigation in the Supreme Prosecutor's Office is a total exoneration, with the doors slammed shut by regularizations, prescription and the inviolability of the crown. In the next few days the monarch will announce his future steps, among which is the possibility of returning to Spain once the case is buried with little chance of prospering again. In the last paragraph of its file decree, the Prosecutor's Office takes full advantage of the investigation: it recognizes that it has not allowed criminal actions against the king emeritus but highlights that "the actions of the Prosecutor's Office have allowed the recovery of 5,095,148 euros for the public coffers corresponding to the tax installments owed by SMD Juan Carlos de Borbón to the Public Treasury, including the appropriate surcharges and default interest".

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