The Prosecutor’s Office notified him in June, November and December 2020. The State Attorney General, Dolores Delgado, told in an appearance in Congress how the investigations were progressing. Meanwhile, the progress of the investigations opened against Juan Carlos I have been promptly reported by the media. More than a year in which the emeritus king has learned of the cases against him and has regularized the money to try to stop them, without the Justice having yet taken the step of imposing the condition of being investigated.
The Prosecutor’s Office extends its investigation to the King Emeritus of corruption crimes without denouncing it in the Supreme Court
These notices in public and private have added one more obstacle to an already very complex cause, due to the exceptional situation of its protagonist. Justice now not only has to try to delve into the monarch’s dark business, but it must also determine if the regularizations he has made annul the criminal cases against him, or if, on the contrary, he did them when he already knew that he was being investigated and therefore, they do not close the judicial process and open new avenues for investigators.
The first communication that the King Emeritus had from the Prosecutor’s Office was in June 2020. According to El País published last Monday, it was the first of three written communications from the Public Ministry to Juan Carlos I. On that occasion, he was informed of what all the media began to publish on June 8: the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office assumed the investigation into whether he committed money laundering and a tax crime with the AVE commissions to Mecca.
Since that day, four Supreme Court prosecutors led by Juan Ignacio Campos began to investigate the details of the donation of 65 million euros by Saudi Arabia to Juan Carlos de Borbón in 2008. The Swiss Prosecutor’s Office had already opened an investigation on that transfer, which is suspected of being a commission due to the role played by the King Emeritus in the concession of the AVE works to a conglomerate of Spanish companies.
The king flees Spain two months later
Two months after the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office publicly announced the investigation, Juan Carlos I left Spain. It was the last and most resounding step in the strategy of separating the crown from the one who held it for 40 years. King Felipe VI had taken away his constitutional assignment (to dedicate it to another party of the Royal House itself) and had renounced his inheritance, also stained by his father’s scandals. Removing him from Spain was decided that it was the only option to relieve the pressure.
But the succession of grotesque details about the king’s business did not slow down. The next great milestone, and that would cause a new communication from the Prosecutor’s Office to the emeritus, was the publication by elDiario.es that another line of investigation had been opened against Juan Carlos I. On this occasion, for the use of opaque cards by members of his family and himself. The money came from accounts abroad and the events had occurred when he no longer had inviolability for his position.
That news was published on November 3, 2020. The Prosecutor’s Office notified him that same month that it was investigating him, although without going into details. According to El País, it was generic and written information.
Information from the Prosecutor’s Office and news from the press led the emeritus king to try to cut off this avenue of investigation with the only instrument he had in his hand: to pay what he owed for the use of those credit cards, whose expenses had been hidden from the Spanish Treasury. On December 9 of that year, Juan Carlos de Borbón made a voluntary declaration by which 678,393.72 euros entered the public accounts.
His lawyer, former prosecutor Javier Sánchez Junco, explained in a statement that this payment had been made “without prior request.” It was obvious, of course, that he had already received a communication from the Prosecutor’s Office, that the news about his alleged fraud had appeared in the press and that the investigators had already questioned the Mexican millionaire from whom the money spent with the cards would come, Allen Sanginés-Krause , and retired Lieutenant Colonel Nicolás Murga Mendoza, already retired, and who would have acted as a vehicle for the use of those funds.
That notice and that regularization are what have added a degree of complexity to the already delicate investigation of the King Emeritus. The objective of your defense is to avoid the bench but paying the Treasury after receiving a formal notice from the Prosecutor’s Office may not be enough.
Article 305.4 of the Penal Code refers to the possibility of avoiding the bench if you pay on time. “The tax situation will be considered regularized when the taxpayer has proceeded to the full recognition and payment of the tax debt (…) before the Public Prosecutor (…) files a complaint or complaint against him directed, or before that the Public Prosecutor’s Office or the Investigating Judge carry out actions that allow it to have formal knowledge of the initiation of proceedings ”.
The notice was limited to a number of proceedings and the offer rejected by lawyer Javier Sánchez-Junco to appear in the process without specifying what the investigation was about. Juan Carlos I regularized his debts with the Treasury after learning that he was being investigated, but now it remains to clear the question of whether that is enough to avoid a complaint for a tax crime.
In various communications, his lawyer has always insisted that the payments have been made without any prior requirement, although they were made after learning in a formal and generic way that there were several open investigations. A “formal knowledge” that quotes the Penal Code verbatim.
The background of the Supreme
In the absence of a more specific expression in the Penal Code and in the absence of knowing the exact content of these written communications, the Supreme Court has already resolved similar cases. A sentence of February 2019 of the Criminal Chamber made it clear that a communication from the Prosecutor’s Office “produces the effect of automatic blocking” in the face of a regularization, although that communication “is not totally precise or is not detailed in all its terms.”
The judges, with Antonio del Moral as speaker, then resolved the case of a Galician businessman who charged more than 600,000 euros for an expropriation and who tried to pay a few days after receiving a summons from the Prosecutor’s Office to testify. The Supreme Court decided to confirm his sentence of four months in prison for a tax offense, understanding that his was not “a spontaneous regularization” but rather a consequence of the notice he had received in the form of a summons.
In that case, the summons was generic and only required him to come to testify one day, without explaining why he was being investigated. Enough, as the Supreme Court said then, to understand that he could be convicted of a tax offense. “The automatic blocking effect is produced even if the summons is not totally precise or is not detailed in all its terms,” said the judges, adding that “it is not possible to take refuge in deliberate ignorance” since “with that summons the appellant, logically knowing his previous actions, he had to safely deduce that only those facts could be referred to. Therefore, it will be more feigned ignorance than deliberate ignorance. ”
For the Supreme Court, therefore, the generic nature of one of these notices or communications from the investigators does not automatically exempt it from being accused of a tax offense. In that sentence he even said that the employer “had to necessarily intuit it, it is not possible for him to hide behind the weak and formal excuse that in the abstract he could refer to other taxes, other taxpayers, or other exercises”. He left the door open, yes, to be regularized when he found out in another way. In another sentence prior to 2015, in addition, the same criminal chamber assured that the fact of trying to regularize implies that “fraud is being tacitly admitted.”
A third communication and another payment
The Prosecutor’s Office has had to send a third communication to the King Emeritus after November 2020 and that motivated the first regularization of funds. In December, he notified Juan Carlos I that he had opened a new avenue of investigation after an “intelligence report” from the Money Laundering Prevention Service (Sepblac). Those investigations delved into an account on the Island of Jersey, a tax haven, where the king would have 10 million euros.
A few months later, the king made another payment to the Spanish Treasury. On this occasion it was 4.4 million euros, much higher than the previous one, and on that occasion for the tax debts derived from the eight million euros that Juan Carlos I received for flights made in a private jet company and that he paid up to 2018 the Zagatka foundation, owned by his distant cousin Álvaro de Orleans.
That donation, again spontaneous and without prior requirement according to his lawyer, occurred just 48 hours after the Spanish Prosecutor’s Office sent a rogatory commission to Switzerland in which he referred to the king emeritus as a kind of international commission agent suspected of having incurred four crimes.
The newspaper ‘El País’ revealed the aforementioned payment to the Treasury on February 25 and the following day the king’s lawyer, Javier Sánchez Junco, published a note in which he estimated at 4.4 million the amount regularized by the expenses borne by the Zagatka Foundation and in which he emphasized that it was the decision of the monarch emeritus of regularizing his situation with the Treasury and it occurred without the Treasury having made any “requirement” beforehand.
With this affirmation, the defense of the monarch defended an alleged spontaneous action by Juan Carlos I that occurred hours after the Office of the Supreme Court Prosecutor sent the rogatory commission to Switzerland using statements never before expressed on the evidence of crime that exist against him. former head of the Spanish state.
As if the notices of the Public Ministry and the news in the press were not enough, the State Attorney General herself has spoken publicly about the investigations to Juan Carlos I. In an appearance in Congress on March 2, 2021, Dolores Delgado congratulated herself because the investigations to the king had surfaced five million euros in unpaid taxes and predicted that “new investigations and verifications” would be opened.
Those words were, in reality, a defense against the spokesmen who made him look ugly at the delay in the investigation into the emeritus. Already in March, Delgado said that the investigation was being carried out “with absolute secrecy, even under the risk of talking about the inactivity of the Prosecutor’s Office, which has not stopped working.” He added that it was necessary to study in detail the emeritus regularizations and their impact on the investigations.
More than a year after the investigation began and six months after the words of the attorney general, there is no great news. The king continues out of Spain and the three lines of investigation open without great progress. The investigation proceedings have not been transformed into a complaint before the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court, a judicial body before which Juan Carlos I has been registered since his abdication in 2014.
Sources from the Public Prosecutor’s Office maintain that the delay in the response of the letters rogatory sent to several countries to obtain information on the monarch’s activity have not allowed a complaint to be filed against Juan Carlos I for alleged crimes committed since he lost inviolability. Nor has the Public Ministry yet clarified whether the payments of the king emeritus to the Treasury are enough to close any of these causes or not.