04/09/2021

Justice must finish its task regarding the former king

2 min

BarcelonaSpanish public opinion woke up this Friday to a front page headline in El Mundo that finally puts in black and white what the Supreme Court prosecutor's office is investigating about the ex-king, Juan Carlos I. According to the rogatory sent to Switzerland by the lieutenant prosecutor Juan Ignacio Campos, the former head of state would have made "intermediation in international business deals" to collect "commissions and other benefits". And in this case he could have committed up to four different crimes: money laundering, against public finances, fraud and influence peddling. It is not in itself a great novelty, because it is precisely in Switzerland that the public prosecutor Bertossa is also investigating the origin of the ex-king's money, but the fact that a Spanish judicial document recognises that there are indications that the former king acted as a commission agent while in office has had a strong impact on both public opinion and the political class.

And undoubtedly the one who has made the biggest impact has been Juan Carlos I himself, who through his lawyers has charged against the Prosecutor's Office and accused it of not respecting his presumption of innocence. And the Prosecutor's Office has responded with another statement in which it explains what is obvious, and that is that to request information from another country on bank accounts the alleged crimes that would have been committed must be indicated, and that there is still no decision on whether the ex-king will be cited as an investigated party. The clash between two state institutions in front of the whole world, then, is served, and will help to gauge the health of Spanish democracy.

Politically, it is clear that the scandals surrounding the ex-king are wearing down the monarchical institution and are of particular concern to the PSOE, which sees how Podemos has found a loophole to raise its political profile. On the other hand, the triple right is moving unwaveringly in defense of Felipe VI and does not hesitate to accuse the Prosecutor of acting at the dictate of the left. What is needed, however, is for the investigation to speed up and for Juan Carlos I to be tried with all the guarantees within Spain. If this does not happen, the feeling will spread among the public that there has been a deliberate delay in the process to avoid an image that would undoubtedly be historic: Juan Carlos I sitting in the dock.

That is why it is important that justice continues its tasks, and judicial logic indicates that the next step should be to summon the former king as a defendant in the process so that he can testify before a judge. This interrogation would be key to clarify all the doubts surrounding his alleged dirty dealings and also the mechanics of the commissions, which involve some big Spanish businessmen who, although they have taken advantage of Juan Carlos I's contacts, have also often come to his rescue.

Spanish democracy will have to pass the stress test of going all the way in this investigation. And if it fails to do so, it will prove right those who doubt the very democratic credentials of the state.

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