The emeritus king enriched himself behind the back of the Treasury during the worst of the economic crisis


The emeritus king enriched himself behind the back of the Treasury during the worst of the economic crisis

The Prosecutor's Office has decided to file the investigation against the king emeritus, but his writings outline the economic trajectory of Juan Carlos of Bourbon, buoyant outside official channels even when the country was going through its worst economic times. The decrees made public this week relate how he opened two 'trusts' in the tax haven of Jersey in the mid-1990s, when Spain was beginning to recover from the economic crisis. Also how he cashed in $100 million in 2008, in the early years of the next crisis, while the unemployment rate was skyrocketing. Everything behind the Treasury and while his annual Christmas speeches called for solidarity and exemplary action from citizens and institutions.

The origin of the case is in 2008, when the monarch's collaborators opened an account in the Swiss bank Mirabaud to manage the funds of the Lucum Foundation. The Foundation was created on July 31 of that year in Panama and the account was opened in Geneva a week later. That same day the income arrived: a total of 64.8 million euros You come from the then king of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz. The Prosecutor's Office has concluded that there is no crime and, if there was, it is prescribed and buried by the inviolability of the monarch, in addition to understanding that there is no evidence linking that payment with the award of the AVE to Mecca.

By the time that payment reached the account of the Panamanian foundation of Juan Carlos de Borbón, the country was already peering into the abyss of the economic crisis. In 2007 the unemployment rate was 8.8% and in 2008 it was already 13.8%. According to the Prosecutor's Office, he continued to move his money until he got rid of it in Nassau (Bahamas) in June 2012, when the unemployment rate in Spain was close to 26% and almost six million unemployed. That money never passed through the hands of the Treasury and the defrauded fees, which the Prosecutor's Office itself acknowledges far exceeded the threshold of 120,000 euros of tax crime, have not had legal consequences for him.

Those years, in his annual Christmas speeches, the head of state addressed the nation and the rampant economic crisis played a leading role in his speeches. "Let us serve with greater zeal the desire of the Spaniards to build an increasingly fair, inclusive and supportive Spain, of all and for all", he urged politicians at the end of 2007, a few months before receiving the millionaire transfer. "Together we can overcome problems and difficulties if we act with realism, rigour, ethics and a lot of effort, always putting the general interest before the individual", he said already in the Christmas holidays of 2008, with the 64.8 million euros in the account of its Panamanian foundation without having informed the Treasury.

That was not the only income that the Prosecutor's Office has examined in its investigation. The Lucum Foundation had up to four accounts outside of Spain opened between 2008 and 2011, and 1.4 million euros came into one from the Sultan of Bahrain in April 2010. The money from all of them went to Nassau (Bahamas). on different days of the month of June 2012. The Prosecutor's Office does not explain what could have led to this disassociation of the money, on dates in which the Noos case and in which the monarch's son-in-law, Iñaki Urdangarin, had already been charged. A few months before that outflow of money from the accounts, the king fell in Botswana while hunting, the moment of his famous "I'm so sorry, I was wrong and it will not happen again."

During this time in which he called to put "the general interest over the individual" in his speeches to the nation, Juan Carlos de Borbón hid this money from the Treasury. He presented his personal income tax returns in Spain in which, according to the Prosecutor's Office, "he did not include the income and returns obtained on the accounts opened at the Mirabaud bank by the Lucum foundation." He did not present form 750 and the Prosecutor's Office drops that, if it were not for the prescription and inviolability, it could have cost him an accusation for a fiscal crime, whether the Personal Income Tax (IRPF) had been applied to him or if the Inheritance and Gift Tax had been applied to it, regardless of whether it was an acquired asset or an undeclared patrimony.

"In both hypotheses, a defrauded fee is obtained for each year that far exceeds the amount of 120,000 euros that it establishes as a threshold," says the Prosecutor's Office. The tables exposed by the Public Ministry reveal that, for example, in 2008 it owed more than 28 million euros in personal income tax if it was considered an unjustified capital gain. At that time, as was learned several years later, Juan Carlos de Borbón had an allocation of 300,000 euros annually from public coffers. During the Christmas holidays of 2012, after sending his money on his way to Nassau, he addressed the nation: "In order for our economy to grow again, we have to put our accounts in order and, at the same time, generate stimuli for the creation of wealth. ", he said, later adding that "Spain is part of the solution to the global crisis."

The Prosecutor's Office also put the magnifying glass on the millions of euros that businessmen and people around them made available to them through foundations and companies to meet your personal expenses and those of people around him once he left the throne in 2014 and, therefore, ceased to be protected by the monarchical inviolability recognized by the Constitution. One of his benefactors was the businessman Allen Sanginés-Krause, who between 2016 and 2018 sent 516,000 euros to the monarch while they traveled together to the Irish castle of Killua or while the king, at 79 years old, was proclaimed world champion of sailing in the category of Classics of 6 meters aboard the Bribón, his boat.

Those years, Sanginés also took care of more than 471,000 in travel and even various medical expenses. But he was not the only economic benefactor of Juan Carlos I, who after his abdication saw his annual allocation of public money reduced by 30%, to nearly 200,000 euros per year until March 2020. His cousin Álvaro de Orleans kept another Foundation running , baptized as Zagatka, with which he paid around 8 million euros in trips to the monarch emeritus between 2014 and 2018.

The money came out of his accounts at Credit Suisse or Lombard Odier and ended up at the travel companies, either for specific flights or for vouchers that allowed him to travel wherever he wanted. Most of that money went to Air Partner services (7.6 million) but also to Viajes Terra Viva (164,000 euros) and Fathomless Advisory (67,000 euros). Broken down expense by expense, explains the Prosecutor's Office, none of these donations exceeds the threshold of fiscal crime and, in addition, the controversial fiscal regularizations launched after knowing that it was being investigated block any type of criminal procedure. The same goes for the acquisition of three shotguns for more than 100,000 euros in total in 2018.

By then Juan Carlos de Borbón was no longer king and therefore did not have a large number of public appearances, although Felipe VI did continue to allude to the exemplary nature of the institutions, last year without going any further. But his legal problems began to make their way: in 2018 several media published recorded conversations in which his former lover, Corinna Larsen, recognized the existence of the millionaire collection in 2008 and how she had been used to hide it. In her accounts in the Bahamas, she ended up, as an irrevocable donation, the money that the King's Lucum Panamanian Foundation had amassed for years in Switzerland.

Juan Carlos I, therefore, made his fortune while the country's economy was sinking, but his international economic boom behind the public coffers was nothing new. The Prosecutor's Office details in his brief how in the 1990s the monarch disposed of several million euros distributed in various 'trusts' in the tax haven of Jersey. One was named 'Tartessos' and created in 1995 and the other, called 'Hereu' - heir in Catalan - two years later and the funds, managed by his collaborator Manuel Jaime de Prado and Columbus de Carvajal, once again came from donations that Spanish society never knew about. Spain, meanwhile, was then beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel of the deep economic crisis of 1993, which had left 3.3 million unemployed and an unemployment rate of more than 24%. In its christmas message from 1995the year he created his first 'trust' in Jersey, the monarch spoke of the "personal drama" of unemployment and the "disturbing" unemployment figures.

Some nine million euros came from a donation made by Simeon II of Bulgaria in 1999, three years after Juan Carlos de Borbón's official plane took him back to Bulgaria after half a century in exile. Another undetermined amount came from donations from "unidentified people who supported the Spanish monarch between the 60s and 70s of the last century", channeled through a company called 'Nadine Limited'. The friendship between the two has always been evident, for example when in June 2016 the Bulgarian monarch almost burst into tears when thanking him during the presentation of his book at the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts.

That money, according to the witnesses who have testified before the Prosecutor's Office, was not there for personal expenses or to invest. It was to support the monarch in case of a coup. "The purpose of both trusts was to support the then King Juan Carlos I in the event that he was deposed by an unconstitutional coup or a similar situation and they had him as the sole beneficiary," explained John Ruddy, former 'trustee' of those two money. But the king, according to these testimonies, decided to disassociate himself from that hidden fortune in 2004, when he understood that the Spanish monarchy was not in danger two decades after the last coup attempt.

He announced his decision in a meeting he held in December 2003 with Ruddy and Manuel Jaime de Prado, then already condemned by the National High Court to two years in prison for diverting 12 million euros in the KIO case. That undetermined day in December, according to De Prado's testimony, Juan Carlos de Borbón recognized that the situation of the monarchy was stable, that his son Felipe was going to marry Letizia Ortiz and that he had to disassociate himself from the funds because " If its existence were known by Spanish public opinion, it would be embarrassing for the monarchy". A new trust was then born without direct ties to the king emeritus, in the hands of Joaquín Romero Maura.

On the same dates that Juan Carlos I acknowledged to his collaborators that Spanish society would not welcome the concealment of several million euros in a tax haven, the monarch addressed the nation in his traditional Christmas speech. A message in which he also referred to the link between the future kings, something that he said was "a source of great joy both from the family and institutional point of view."

He also invited citizens and institutions to comply with the Constitution and praised the economy to which he then hid part of his fortune: "We are moving in the right direction. But there is still much to be done in favor of those affected by social exclusion, the marginalized and those who claim to enjoy greater equality of opportunities," he said in a speech in which he also had kind words for public health and education.

The investigation of this 'trust' began when anti-money laundering authorities suspected of all the links of the money with Juan Carlos I and they brought everything to the attention of the Prosecutor's Office. The investigators, finally, have determined that there was an undoubted link between the monarch and the origin of the funds but that, once transferred in 2004 to the new 'trust' of Romero Maura, they remained outside the king and remained in the hands of this man in whose rectitude Juan Carlos I trusted. Everything prior to that year has prescribed and, in any case, would be protected by an inviolability of the monarchy that the Prosecutor's Office defines as total. For the public and for the private.



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