The prosecutor of Spain’s Supreme Court will investigate former king Juan Carlos for allegedly receiving commissions in exchange for interceding so that a Spanish consortium win a contract to build a high-speed train link to the city of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. The case was until now in the anti-corruption prosecutor, but on Monday it was announced that it was transferred to the prosecution’s office of Spain’s top court due to the involvement of the former monarch.
According to the Constitution, a king cannot be judged by any means, but Juan Carlos abdicated the throne in June 2014 in favor of his son, Felipe, the current king. Since the abdication, some legal doubts have arisen on whether Juan Carlos can face a trial – with the latest move by the prosecutor, Spain’s judiciary considers him eligible to be judged with immunity similar to high-ranking politicians, meaning he can only be judged by the Supreme Court.
Prosecutor Juan Ignacio Campos, an expert in economic cases, will lead the inquiry, which will look into the events in which Juan Carlos was involved from June 2014 – he cannot be tried for anything happening during his reign.
High-speed train between Medina and Mecca
Yet, the project to link Medina and Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, with a high-speed train line, was allocated to a consortium of Spanish firms between 2011 and 2012, before Juan Carlos’ abdication. The Swiss newspaper ‘Tribune de Genève’ published in March that he received 100 million dollars from Saudi Arabia in 2008, revealing that the Swiss judiciary was investigating him after some leaked conversations between Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, an alleged former lover of Juan Carlos, and a former police official, José Manuel Villarejo.
Also in March, it was reported that lawyers in the United Kingdom representing zu Sayn-Wittgenstein were preparing to launch a suit against Juan Carlos, accusing him of making threats against her. In May, Spanish daily ‘El País’ claimed that the former king of Spain, Juan Carlos, was given 1.7 million euros in cash by Bahrain’s sultan, Hamad bin Isa al Jalifa, in 2010.
The funds allegedly given to Juan Carlos possibly ended up in some foundations. Switzerland is investigating the movements of the Panamanian foundation Lucum and its bank account in Mirabaud bank, of which Juan Carlos was its first beneficiary and the current king, Felipe, its second beneficiary.
When these came to light, Felipe rejected his father’s inheritance and removed him from royal family payroll, something announced as the state of alarm came into force, on March 15, 2020.
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