More than a year after the start of the proceedings, the triple case opened in the Supreme Court Prosecutor’s Office about the emeritus king and his opaque fortune is advancing towards a diffuse horizon. The investigation has risen in tone in the last hours with the appearance of possible serious crimes of corruption on the payroll of Juan Carlos I but without the Prosecutor’s Office clarifying for the moment if it intends to denounce the monarch before Justice.
The defense of the king emeritus clashes with the Prosecutor’s Office over corruption accusations
In a rogatory commission in which he requests documentation from Switzerland, the content of which was advanced by The world, the Prosecutor’s Office points out for the first time the crimes that Felipe VI’s father could have incurred: money laundering, against the Public Treasury, bribery and influence peddling. The qualitative leap is great, at least with the Penal Code in hand. The investigation that began to examine possible tax crimes, leaving aside everything that Juan Carlos I had done during the forty years that he was head of state and was protected by the shield of inviolability, has been transformed into an investigation into the most common ingredients of corruption cases. Two of them are even part of the catalog that the General Council of the Judiciary includes in its statistics on corruption processes.
On paper, all of this worsens any defendant’s prognosis. Money laundering, for example, is punishable by up to six years in prison. Influence peddling, with up to two years. Bribery, with up to six in the most serious cases. Hypothetical sentences that undoubtedly overshadow the criminal horizon of a defendant for tax crimes, punishable by a maximum of six years in prison. The previous monarch has tried to neutralize the fraud to the Treasury with regularizations in which he has paid the treasury five million euros.
This new catalog of crimes would also aggravate the economic punishment. The Penal Code specifies that a person convicted of money laundering will also have to pay fines three times higher than the value of the money laundered. In the case of the monarch, the 65 million euros that he received from Saudi Arabia in 2008 are being investigated and on which there are suspicions that it could be a commission in the framework of the works of the AVE to Mecca, the ten million euros located in an account on the island of Jersey where he is listed as a beneficiary, the eight million euros in private flights that his distant cousin Álvaro de Orleans paid him, as well as the expenses that he and other relatives – among them, Queen Sofía and some of his grandchildren – they did in 2016, 2017 and 2018 with opaque cards that were nourished by funds not declared to the Treasury, as revealed by elDiario.es.
The Supreme Prosecutor’s Office has indirectly attributed these crimes to the emeritus for several months, as it appears in a rogatory commission sent to Switzerland last February but whose content has just transpired. Once published in the media, the public ministry itself tried to reduce the intensity of its accusations in a statement released this Friday. “We are not facing an opinion, request for prosecution or conclusions from the Prosecutor, but within the framework of a request for information, in which the possible illicit crimes that are the subject of investigation are simply detailed,” said the Prosecutor’s Office in its communication to the media .
The accusations that appear in the letter sent to Switzerland, although circumstantial, have not pleased the defense of the king emeritus. A few hours after transcending the content of the rogatory commission, his lawyer, Javier Sánchez-Junco, starred in an unprecedented public clash with the investigators by ensuring that the communication to the Swiss authorities contains “serious statements and allegations of conduct” that are made , in his opinion, “without any support” and that “they lack the slightest justification, being contradicted by other facts about which nothing is said.” The lawyer did not specify what facts contradict the accusations.
No complaint in sight
This escalation in the accusations and the ongoing investigations have not translated, at least for the moment, into a clear intention of the Prosecutor’s Office to file a complaint against the emeritus before the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court, which is competent to try him. In the same statement, the Prosecutor’s Office acknowledged that it is still waiting to receive documentation from different countries before making a decision, including the possibility of opening new lines of investigation. “It will be precisely the content of the response that the requested authority gives to the corresponding rogatory commission which in turn will allow the Prosecutor to confirm or discard these indications, or even open other avenues of investigation,” said the Public Ministry this Friday.
Long lights on the possible prosecution of some of the ramifications of the case that overlap with various information from the Prosecutor’s Office that points to the file. Media such as El Confidencial or El Mundo have reflected on several occasions that the investigators are not clear that a complaint against Juan Carlos I is viable after the fiscal regulations that he has implemented or because of the inviolability that protects any possible crime committed during his mandate .
Sources of the investigation affirm that the Office of the Supreme Court Prosecutor has already received “almost all” the letters rogatory that they launched, in a process in which collaboration with some countries has been more fluid than with others. The investigations into the monarch in the hands of the public prosecutor’s office are taking longer than other similar investigations into alleged commission agents before their prosecution in the National High Court.
An example of this type of case is the one opened against Gustavo de Arístegui and Pedro Gómez de la Serna, two former leaders of the PP, in December 2015 before falling into the hands of judge José De la Mata in January of the following year. In other cases such as the DEFEX plot, the Anticorruption investigation was extended even more, between February 2013 and the summer of 2014, as stated in the order to open the oral trial of the case.
Last March, in an appearance in the Congress of Deputies and in the face of criticism from some parliamentary groups for the lack of results of the investigations of the Prosecutor’s Office on the emeritus, its head, Dolores Delgado, attributed the slowness of the investigations to “international cooperation” – he said that there were several letters rogatory pending sent to different countries and that delayed their progress – and put in value that these inquiries had allowed to surface an “important” and “unimaginable” amount of money for the public coffers.
Delgado was referring to the 678,393.72 euros that Juan Carlos I paid in December 2020 to prevent a criminal investigation on his opaque cards and the 4.4 million euros deposited in February 2021 with which he intended to regularize the pleasure trips that for years he was paid by a foundation under suspicion. These voluntary regularizations of five million, carried out after knowing that he was being investigated, imply the recognition by the emeritus that he evaded taxes to the Spanish treasury and the attempt to avoid criminal investigations that could seriously compromise his judicial future.
However, the payment of 4.4 million euros opened a new line of investigation in the Public Prosecutor’s Office and an inspection in the Treasury on the origin of those funds. As revealed this Friday The country, the Tax Agency, which is tracking cash income and payments from the account in which the emeritus received his public salary since his abdication, has asked the Casa del Rey to inform him of all the payments he made to Juan Carlos I between 2014 and 2018. Tax inspectors and technicians criticized at that time that the emeritus could have regularized the expenses of the Zagatka Foundation before an inspection was denounced or opened.