Spanish public prosecutors believe there is evidence of money laundering and tax fraud in the actions of king emeritus Juan Carlos I in relation to the awarding of the contracts for Saudi Arabia's high speed train linking Mecca and Medina. Now the prosecutors have set their sights on property buying and selling, suspecting that these acquisitions may have served as a front to allow the laundering of money that came from irregular origins. Spanish digital newspaper El Confidencial says that among the assets considered sensitive are several plots of land in Morocco and houses in Switzerland.
The existence of these properties was already known thanks to a recording by former Spanish police commissioner José Manuel Villarejo in which the king's former lover, Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, explained the difficulties she was having because the Spanish king had put several properties in Morocco and other places outside Spain in her name when, in reality, they were not hers.
The investigation, started by Swiss prosecutors, has examined the movements of funds and ownership changes of these properties, says El Confidencial. In addition to those in Morocco, which consist of properties in Marrakech which were allegedly a gift, there are a number of homes in Switzerland that are thought to have been purchased with part of the 100 million dollar sum given to the Spanish monarch by Saudi Arabia.
The essential point that Spanish prosecutors are now investigating is whether any of the acquisitions, sales or changes of ownership took place after 2014, when Juan Carlos I abdicated and thus lost his full immunity from prosecution. On Monday, prosecutors in the Spanish Supreme Court took over the investigation arising from the proceedings that Anticorruption police had opened due to the payments of irregular commissions, having detected that one of the persons involved in the events investigated was Juan Carlos.
El Confidencial says that the trail of laundered money went firstly to the Lucum foundation and from there to an account in Switzerland's Mirabaud bank. The deposit received there on August 8th, 2008 was USD 100 million. In June 2012, this account was closed and the money transferred to Corinna in the name of Solare Investors Corporation, from the Gonet & Cie Bank in Nassau. According to Spain's El País newspaper, the money was used to buy and renovate two apartments in the Swiss ski resort of Villars-sur-Ollon and a luxury home in north London. The rest of the money was deposited in another account in the United States.
The Spanish public attorneys have stated that the investigation is focusing on Phase II of the Saudi high speed train project and that it will require investigation, with the question still open as to whether Juan Carlos will be protected by inviolability or not.