Monday, December 4

The Prosecutor’s Office releases the emeritus despite verifying numerous fiscal irregularities

Juan Carlos I, in a Nadal match in Abu Dhabi. / EFE

Juan Carlos I’s lawyer postpones until next week any decision on the return to Spain of the former head of state

End of the road. After 20 months of investigation to discover the possible criminal responsibility of the king emeritus for his hidden fortune abroad, the Prosecutor’s Office concluded this Wednesday -through two very extensive file decrees- that there are no elements to file a complaint against Don Juan Carlos in the Supreme Court, the body before which it is appraised. The Public Ministry thus shelves each and every one of the open lines of investigation, despite verifying numerous fiscal irregularities. However, the high court prosecutors believe it is impossible to prosecute these illegalities because some were committed before his abdication and therefore he was inviolable; because the tax regularizations that he presented in December 2020 and February 2021 free him from the crime against the Treasury; or because there is no evidence to support his relationship with the fortune discovered in tax havens or that he charged ‘kickbacks’ in Saudi Arabia.

The decision of the Prosecutor’s Office to bury any accusation against Juan Carlos I opens the door to his return to Spain from Abu Dhabi, where he has lived since August 2020. The lawyer for the former head of state, Javier Sánchez-Junco, did not reveal this Wednesday if after these files of the cases against the emeritus, he is going to return to Spain immediately. However, the lawyer anticipated that “in the next few days he will personally transfer” to Juan Carlos I the writings that exonerate them from everything and that “next week”, in his case, he will communicate the “decisions” that the emeritus may take in clear allusion to his return to national territory.

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The two file decrees were signed by the head of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, Alejandro Luzón, and endorsed by the State Attorney General, Dolores Delgado, and refer to the three lines of investigation opened against who was head of state between 1975 and 2014 : the alleged illegal commissions in the works of the Saudi AVE; the use of opaque credit cards by members of the Royal Family; and the existence of an account in Jersey allegedly linked to the investigated.

“Billionaire Gift”

On the first matter, the investigators – explains the Public Ministry – “have not been able to establish, even in an indicative way, any link” between the income of 64,884,405 euros (100 million dollars) to a foundation managed by Don Juan Carlos and the award of the high-speed rail line construction project in Saudi Arabia nor, therefore, that said amount is related to the payment of any commission. Anticorruption understands that it would be, therefore, a “gift” that could have been received in consideration of the condition of Head of State in 2008 and, therefore, capable of integrating the crime of bribery given the prescription of the facts.

The file decree referring to the AVE to Mecca also analyzes the possible commission of a crime of money laundering for the financial and corporate operations carried out by the emeritus between 2008 and 2012 after receiving that amount of 64.8 million euros. But the Prosecutor’s Office indicates that the acts likely to integrate any of the behaviors described in article 301 of the Penal Code would have ceased in 2012, a date covered by the inviolability that article 56.3 of the Constitution recognizes the Head of State.

The second investigation that the Prosecutor’s Office has filed is the use by the former head of state of funds from the Mexican businessman Allen Sanginés-Krause. He recognized that between 2016 and 2018 (with Juan Carlos I already off the throne) he gave him close to a million euros. The emeritus -explains Anti-corruption- was close to being hunted for a tax crime but avoided this possibility by paying the treasury 678,393 euros in a tax regularization in December 2020, before knowing that he was being investigated, according to Anti-corruption.

The Jersey Reservoir

The third of the archived cases is the one referring to the funds found in a trust – contract with which the title of a property is transferred to a third party – constituted in Jersey in 2004 by Joaquín Romero Maura. The resolution of the Prosecutor’s Office explains that this trust, called The JRM 2004, was born from the merger of two others created in 1995 and 1997 by Manuel de Prado and Colón de Carvajal, already deceased and a person of absolute confidence of the emeritus. Anticorruption admits that those original trusts, which had “initial funds” of 14,923,604 euros, had the “purpose of supporting the then King Juan Carlos I in the event that he was deposed by an unconstitutional coup or a similar situation and had him (to the emeritus) as the sole beneficiary.

However – the providence points out – the previous head of state “liquidated” those original trusts in 2004 and “transferred” their funds to Joaquín Romero Maura. And -argues the Prosecutor’s Office- from then on he was totally detached from that money, to the point that “he never had the status of beneficiary, nor did any person around him.”

“Between 2004 and 2021 there is no evidence to link The JRM 2004 Trust with Juan Carlos de Borbón, neither in its management nor in the ability to dispose of the funds,” says the Public Ministry, which reiterates that “at no time ( the former Head of State) has had the status of beneficiary of the trust nor is there evidence that he has received any amount from his accounts”.

In any case, the Prosecutor’s Office recalls that as of June 19, 2014, the date on which the abdication of Juan Carlos I became effective and the “inviolability and irresponsibility” was rendered ineffective, the movements of the JRM 2004 trust have been so minors “who in no case would reach the quota corresponding to a crime against the Public Treasury, even if such funds had eventually been delivered to a Spanish taxpayer (the emeritus), something of which there is no record”.

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