Spanish public prosecutors have opened a new investigation into the troubled affairs of king emeritus Juan Carlos I, led by the specialist anti-corruption unit of the prosecution service. The digital daily elDiario.es reports that the new inquiry is centred on the alleged use by Juan Carlos and other members of the Spanish royal family of opaque credit cards, charged to a bank account in the name of a third party. At the same time, the Spanish tax department has opened its own investigation on how this information was leaked to the newspaper.
Expenses charged to these credit cards were paid by an account in which no member of the royal family appears as account holder, according to sources close to the investigation. It is not alleged that Spain's current monarchs, Felipe VI and Letizia, or their two daughters, the infantas Elionor and Sofía, benefited from the cards.
The financial movements of this account and the spending racked up on the cards took place in the years 2016, 2017 and 2018, says elDiario.es, several years after Juan Carlos I abdicated from the crown.
Money from a foreign country
The anti-corruption unit is analyzing the expenses charged to these cards and the origin of the money, thought to be from outside Spain, and the Spanish judiciary has sent formal requests to several countries for help in tracking the origin of the funds.
However, while still awaiting the responses from abroad, the Spanish investigators have already found evidence of an alleged tax offence, as the credit card spending constitutes undeclared income of more than 120,000 euros in a single year. Should the investigation go forward, investigative proceedings would be opened in the criminal chamber of the Supreme Court, as Juan Carlos I's current status means he could only be tried in Spain's high court.
The travels of queen Sofía
Among the expenses charged to the card that was in the possession of Juan Carlos's wife, queen Sofía, are several trips to London, where she currently resides, the sources of the investigation told elDiario.es.
The possible criminal offences relating to these cards have nothing to do with the judicial investigation into the 65 million euros which Juan Carlos received from Saudi Arabia in 2008 and which, in 2012, he transferred to his lover Corinna Larsen. Juan Carlos I abdicated in 2014. Until then, he had been judicially protected by the Spanish Constitution, which made him inviolable.