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AFP
August 6, 2020

No formal probe but legal questions remain for Spain’s ex-king

World

AFP
August 6, 2020

MADRID: While Spain´s former king Juan Carlos is not under formal investigation, revelations by a former mistress raise legal questions about his financial affairs which officials are poring over both at home and abroad. In a surprise move, the 82-year-old announced Monday that he was leaving Spain to prevent his personal affairs from undermining his son King Felipe VI´s reign, prompting anti-monarchists to accuse him of trying to “flee justice”.

But Carmen Calvo, Spain´s deputy prime minister, defended the former monarch Wednesday, saying “he is not fleeing anything because he is not implicated in any (criminal) case.Even so, public prosecutors in Spain and Switzerland are looking into his accounts in the wake of statements made by his former mistress, German businesswoman Corinna Larsen. In conversations which were apparently recorded without her knowledge that were leaked to the media, Larsen claimed the former king had bank accounts in Switzerland and received a payoff relating to a 2011 high-speed rail contract in Saudi Arabia.

Swiss daily La Tribune reported in March that late Saudi king Abdullah in 2008 deposited $100 million into a Panamanian foundation´s account in Swiss private bank Mirabaud to which Juan Carlos had access. - ´Out of love´

The former Spanish king used the account until it was closed in 2012, when he transferred the remaining money in it — nearly $65 million — to Larsen, the newspaper added. Larsen told Swiss investigators he had transferred to her nearly 65 million euros in the Bahamas, “not to get rid of the money”, but “out of gratitude and out of love”, according to Spanish daily El Pais.

La Tribune said a Geneva prosecutor in 2018 opened a criminal investigation into “suspected money laundering” regarding these transactions and formally accused Larsen, Mirabaud bank, a lawyer and a businessman — but not Juan Carlos. Swiss prosecutors have declined to comment on the case.