Misc 09/12/2020

Ex King pays €678,394 to the Treasury to avoid a criminal investigation into opaque cards

Juan Carlos I makes himself available to the Prosecutor's Office, according to his lawyer

Mariona Ferrer I Fornells
3 min
El rei Joan Carles, després de rebre l'alta hospitalària aquest dimarts / EFE

MadridEx King Juan Carlos I admits for the first time to tax fraud. In a statement, his lawyer, Javier Sanchez-Junco, has reported that Juan Carlos I has submitted a voluntary declaration to the Tax Office, "without prior requirement", in order to regularise part of his funds. The debt with the Treasury, which he has already settled, amounted to €678,393.72 including interest and surcharges, according to Sanchez-Junco. In addition, Juan Carlos makes itself available to the Public Prosecutor's Office for any procedure or action that may be necessary.

In no case is it the millions of euros abroad that led him to flee Spain four months ago after the Supreme Court Prosecutor's Office opened an investigation into the alleged €65m fees for the high speed train to Mecca, but rather the money used through opaque credit cards between 2016 and 2018. As El País and El Mundo reported last weekend, Juan Carlos's legal team contacted the Spanish government to try to regularise the funds and it was up to the Finance Ministry to decide whether or not to accept the voluntary declaration. This time, the case does not only concern the Ex King, but also his wife, Queen Sofia, as well as various grandchildren. According to the digital newspaper El Confidencial, the children of Infanta Elena, Froilán and Victoria Federica, would have benefited the most from this money coming from the Mexican businessman Allen Sanginés-Kraus.

With the presentation of the voluntary declaration, Juan Carlos thus tries to prevent another criminal investigation in one of the cases in which he would not be protected by the inviolability of his reign, which ended in 2014. Unlike the commissions for the high speed train to Mecca and alleged ownership of a company in the tax haven of Jersey - the other open case -, the use of opaque cards is a recent event. The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office opened an investigation in 2019 when it detected the use of these cards, with which more than 275,000 would have been paid per the year. The Public Prosecutor's Office has already questioned the Mexican millionaire, as well as the retired lieutenant colonel, Nicolás Murga Mendoza, who is said to have been the front man for the Ex King.

Pressure on Felipe VI

Juan Carlos I's decision can also be interpreted as a manoeuvre to try and return to Spain as soon as possible. Some Spanish media were guessing that it would be as soon as this Christmas, despite the refusal of the Spanish government and the Zarzuela. The fact is that despite the scandal of the regularisation, which means admitting there were opaque cards -although the ex king's lawyers made no reference to them-, Juan Carlos sees how the judicial investigations are gradually being closing, since the Prosecutor's Office of the Supreme Court is inclined to drop the case of the high speed train to Mecca commissions because the king was then protected by his constitutional inviolability.

The Spanish government has left any response to the matter in the hands of Felipe VI. The king has one of his most difficult speeches on the table this Christmas night. The government spokesperson, María Jesús Montero, pointed out this Wednesday, during the press conference following the cabinet meeting, that "whatever the Royal House has to say about this issue, if it has anything to say, it will be said by the King". The socialist ministers thus avoid making any statement, while Unidas Podemos ministers have called on Felipe VI to provide explanations both for this issue and for the letters received from retired military personnel, asking the monarch to sack the government.

However, Montero did ask the crown to be "exemplary", the same as all other citizens with regard to their fiscal situation. He did not want to specify if Juan Carlos I had a voluntary declaration pending, which was later certified by his lawyer's statement, because, according to the Montero, this is always confidential information. However, she did specify that if an investigation were to be opened, Juan Carlos would not be able to present it.