Prosecutor's Office to shelve investigation into Juan Carlos I

Decision is not comparable to a stay of proceedings, but allows his temporary return to Spain, according to 'El Confidencial'

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The king emeritus, Joan Carles I, in an archive image.

The attorney general of the State, Dolores Delgado, could issue a decree in the coming weeks ordering the dismissal of the preliminary inquiries against the king emeritus, according to El Confidencial. The investigation was opened on June 5 last year over Juan Carlos I's alleged irregular practices and was referred to by Supreme Court prosecutor Juan Ignacio Campos, as the King enjoys immunity. Spanish president Pedro Sánchez claimed the final decision will be made public, and stressed that prosecutors and tax authorities have worked with "freedom" and all the resources available.

The team of prosecutors led by Campos, in which the chief anti-corruption prosecutor, Alejandro Luzón, collaborates, concluded that the king emeritus cannot be charged due to his inviolability (Article 56.3 of the Constitution), which he enjoyed while he was head of the State until June 2014, as well as due to the prescription of certain actions. This decision also includes the former king's two voluntary tax regularisations (article 305 of the Penal Code) carried out in December 2020, for the tax on donations, and in February of this year, for the income tax of individuals, for a joint amount exceeding €5m. The decision to shelve the case is not comparable to a stay of proceedings, neither provisional nor definitive, but it would allow the temporary return of the former king to Spain.

ARA already advanced less than a year ago that the team of four prosecutors that Supreme Court prosecutor Juan Ignacio Campos coordinates was inclined to shelve the proceedings, These were opened in June over an alleged crime of bribery in the award of the high-speed train to Mecca rail works, through the payment of a $100m commission (€64.8m) in August 2008 to a Swiss bank account in Juan Carlos's name. The inviolability enjoyed by the monarch until his abdication in 2014 was, according to sources familiar with the investigation consulted by this newspaper, the insurmountable obstacle to sue, should there be any criminal responsibilities

The investigation used documentation requested in February 2020 by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office to from Geneva prosecutor Yves Bertossa on the Lucum foundation, the first and only beneficiary of which was Juan Carlos I until Prince Felipe, current king of Spain, was also named a beneficiary in 2011. Lucum was created in Panama in July 2008 to receive a €64.8m transfer, according to the investigation led by the Geneva Prosecutor's Office. The money was sent through an account at Mirabaud bank on August 8, 2008 – number 505,523 – coming from the Ministry of Finance of Saudi Arabia. The president of the foundation was Arturo Fasana, founder and partner of Rhône Gestion, which manages wealthy people's estates. Fasana and lawyer Dante Canonica tailored to Juan Carlos's demands after visiting him at the Zarzuela Palace: they ordered the creation of Lucum from Geneva in Panama. Canonica acted as secretary of the board of directors.

Four years after entering the money, towards the end of May 2012, Juan Carlos I made an "irrevocable donation" of the €64,8m to his executor, who in turn invested part of these funds in purchases of different properties in several countries (Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States and others). But Bertossa has not only investigated the Lucum foundation and its account at the Mirabaud bank in relation to the money coming from Saudi Arabia, but has also collected documents confiscated from Rhône Gestion from another foundation called Zagatka (enigma in Russian), created five years earlier, in 2003, in Vaduz (Liechtenstein).