Research on supposed fortune hidden in Switzerland by King Don Juan Carlos took a spectacular turn last Monday, when the chief prosecutor of the Canton of Geneva, Yves Bertossa, gave the order to archive the case, for not being able to prove alleged charges of money laundering after three years of investigations.
This has been one of the most complicated and media cases that 47-year-old Bertossa has faced. indefatigable anti-corruption ram. In the end, he has had to resign himself to leaving because he claims that he lacks sufficient tools to defend the public interest in Switzerland. According to ‘La Tribune de Genève’, the version that forces him to give was not fully believed folder to the investigation
that affected Juan Carlos I, but he had no choice but to file it.
This conclusion means, in a way, a defeat for the high official, who has made the fight against economic crime and corruption his trademark. Bertossa has had on her desk other very complex cases of enormous media relevance. In his own words, “in the fight against corruption and money laundering, Switzerland always acts under international pressure.” For the Geneva Attorney General, Swiss law is full of loopholes and does not provide sufficient instruments to impose sanctions on offshore companies through which illegal commissions pass. Son and successor in office of the also media general prosecutor of Geneva, Bernard Bertossa, «The little Bertossa», as his colleagues often called him, he entered the profession by chance, preferring soccer fields to classrooms, and I had no preference for letters or science.
He entered law school out of curiosity and, once inside, he liked the subject and chose to continue. At the end of your studies, decided to dedicate himself fully to the legal profession and, to guarantee his independence, he opened his own law firm. The real adventure begins for him in 2003, when he begins to take cases of family law or criminal law.
The magistrates of the courts of Geneva observed, from their first interventions, the great capacity of synthesis of the then young lawyer, his eloquence and his implacable tactics. «He knew what he was talking about and he also knew how to be convincing», One of the judges of the Court of Justice of this city commented referring to Bertossa.
Despite the deep mark left by his father, Yves Bertossa soon stood out as an excellent lawyer, won an oratory award and knew, quickly, seize a place in the Geneva judiciary. He was also able to forge his own style, that of a defender of character, endowed with a strong personality and with a lot of left hand.
With criminal matters he had the opportunity to gain experience with organized crime and with financial, understand the mechanisms that govern certain societies that can cause even more damage than common crime by endangering the economic balance and even social peace.
Also known for his open nature and for freely express their opinionsBertossa has shown herself to be an ardent advocate for public service. “What I had to say as a lawyer I said even though I have not always been understood.” His position as prosecutor received him with the conviction that he could continue to maintain his independence.
In front of those who think that it is someone who walks on the path traced by his father, Bertossa reacts distantly. The lawyer stands out stating that “consciously I do not see the influence because my father has not been for me a source of motivation but rather of pride. People are interested in questions that I don’t even ask myself.
His father Bernard – who uncovered numerous corruption cases in Europe by contributing to the creation of the 1996 Geneva Appeal to Fight Fraud – conveyed to him the will to contribute to the well-being of the majority and, perhaps, guided you towards the fight against financial crime, which led him to change his lawyer’s gown for that of a Geneva prosecutor.
Bertossa can take pride in not having forgiven anyone in his relentless fight against corruption. Known for his verb and his pragmatism When it comes to shelving some issues, he has managed to build an excellent reputation in fourteen years in office and has not hesitated to arrest a son of Gaddafi or to initiate an investigation that plagued King Juan Carlos.
His intervention in the framework of the investigation on financial activities abroad of Juan Carlos I could be considered a failure. But this is not the first time that a great investigation in Geneva has come to nothing; moreover, these three years dedicated to researching it could be just a parenthesis.
Bertossa began in 2018 to analyze the donation made by the King to Corinna Larsen. But he had to give up because he could not prove that the 100 million dollars received by Don Juan Carlos from the King of Saudi Arabia came from a crime of alleged corruption collection of hidden commissions related to the contracts related to the construction of the AVE to Mecca.
Some believe that although the research eIt was justified, it was too long. Bertossa’s strategy was the same one that his father employed when he was attorney general of Geneva in the 1990s: open a criminal investigation when a financial transaction seems suspicious to try to clarify the case even if it has to be archived later.
A method that causes the parties involved in a similar procedure to suffer psychological, reputational and financial consequences that can be irreversible. In the case of 100 million from King Juan Carlos, the investigation allowed the Spanish to find out that he had been splendidly paid for his unfailing support to Saudi Arabia, something that has not been proven in the end. Through the justice of Geneva, which decided to investigate some recordings where Corinna Larsen spoke of commissions, it was learned for the first time of the presumed fortune that Don Juan Carlos abroad.
However, three years to finish filing the case with just one symbolic fine to the Mirabaud bank –For not reporting the account holders– raises many questions, including the rhythms of Justice. It took Bertossa several years to convince himself that his investigations were going to end in a dead end, a conclusion he reached last October when his last attempt to prove that the $ 100 million they were the result of a crime of corruption.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism