Spanish prosecutors are suspending two investigations into alleged financial wrongdoing in Juan Carlos I’s business dealings that prompted the former monarch to leave Spain for Abu Dhabi.
Prosecutors at Spain’s Supreme Court said on Wednesday they had found no evidence against which to prosecute because the monarch was protected by immunity until his abdication eight years ago and because any possible fraud was imprescriptible.
Investigations resulted in the recovery of 5.1 million euros ($5.6 million) in fines and income tax that Juan Carlos failed to report to Spanish tax authorities, prosecutors said in their submissions. conclusions.
One of the investigations involved offshore accounts in Jersey, a tax haven, which prosecutors said could not currently be linked to 84-year-old Juan Carlos.
The other related to a payment of 65 million euros ($72 million) which was suspected to be a commission for the mediation of the former monarch in a high-speed rail contract between the Saudi cities of Medina and Mecca. Prosecutors said they could not find a link between the “gift” given to Juan Carlos and the project, which was carried out by a Spanish consortium.
A Swiss money laundering investigation involving some of the funds was also dropped last year, although Geneva prosecutors fined a Swiss bank for failing to alert authorities to Juan Carlos’ dealings. .
In a statement, the former king’s lawyer said prosecutors had cleared the former king of “any wrongful conduct subject to criminal reproach”.
Juan Carlos, who retains the title of “King Emeritus”, moved to the United Arab Emirates in mid-2020 after legal investigations emerged into his possible financial wrongdoings.
Spanish media have reported Juan Carlos’ interest in returning home, but the issue is highly controversial in Spain. Some say the former king’s role in leading the country from dictatorship to democracy in the late 1970s and early 1980s outweighs his sins, while a growing number have used the probes to demand more accountability for members of the royal family – or even to open up a debate about the future of the Spanish monarchy.
Juan Carlos abdicated in favor of his son Felipe VI in 2014 following a series of royal family scandals. Since becoming king, Felipe has tried to distance himself from his father, removing the former monarch from the Royal Household payroll as he tries to rebuild the image of the Spanish crown.