Juan Carlos: former Spanish king may be tried for money laundering
21 Jul 2020

The former King of Spain is facing the growing prospect of a trial for money laundering after allegations that a secret Swiss bank account was used to pay for his holiday in Tahiti.

Juan Carlos flew to the South Pacific island for a nine-day stay in January 2016. In October 2015, £26,311 was transferred from a Swiss account to pay for the trip, it is alleged by El Confidencial, an online newspaper.

The money, paid in sterling to a London travel agent through a third party, is said to have come from the Zagatka foundation, formed in Liechtenstein in 2003 by his cousin, Álvaro de Orleans y Borbón, and is under investigation by a Swiss prosecutor. The cousin paid for several flights for Juan Carlos but denied that the former king had access to the foundation’s money.

Swiss prosecutors are investigating multimillion-euro payments into offshore accounts linked to Juan Carlos, 82, and the source of a €65 million payment to Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, his former mistress. The king abdicated in 2014 after a series of scandals.

In Spain public prosecutors are seeing if there is enough evidence to start proceedings for money laundering and tax crimes against him over his alleged ties to suspected kickbacks for a contract to build a railway in Saudi Arabia in 2011. It is a matter of debate, but it is thought investigators can only focus on the former king’s activities from 2014.

If the money for his holiday is linked to illegal funds, he may be tried for money laundering, legal experts say. “If the continuity of a crime is proved to have taken place after 2014, the case could be judged by the supreme court,” José Luis Martí, a law professor at Pompeu Fabra university, said.

By Isambard Wilkinson, The Times, 21 July 2020

Read more at The Times

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