Former Spanish king Juan Carlos I was not only in charge of his own fraudulent business affairs, but he also helped out in the family. According to digital daily El Confidencial on Monday, the king emeritus helped his nephew Bruno Gómez-Acebo open a venture capital fund for Spanish investments in the United Arab Emirates, an operation that had not come to light until now.
This is clear from a letter sent in 2010 by Gómez-Acebo, son of Juan Carlos's late sister, Pilar de Borbó, to thank his uncle for his interest in the operation and in which he also asks for new favours. One of these requests, according to the letter, was to obtain access to the highest authorities in the Emirates.
The purpose of the investment fund
In this new case - yet another item on the list of dubious operations involving Juan Carlos that have been revealed in recent months - the former Spanish monarch's nephew created the Spain-UAE Infrastructure Fund (Suaeif), with the aim of attracting and managing money from Spanish companies interested in entering the Persian Gulf infrastructure market.
What Gómez-Acebo wanted was to attract capital of between 700 and 1,500 million dollars in order to finance major hydraulic, environmental, health, educational, energy and transport projects, according to El Confidencial. To attract such amounts, the company promised a return of 15%, of which the king’s nephew and his partners would retain 1.75%.
Juan Carlos's role
Up to this point in the creation of the venture, the presence of Juan Carlos I had not been necessary, but for Gómez-Acebo to be able to carry out his commitments he needed the government of the Emirates to award him contracts, and thus he needed contacts - contacts which his uncle had and has. On July 7th, 2010, Gómez-Acebo wrote to the king emeritus to put him in touch with the government of the Emirates and thus make himself known among the bourgeoisie and upper classes of the Gulf state.
In this way, Gómez-Acebo's connection with the emeritus opened the doors to the Emirates embassy in Spain and, in addition, also allowed the younger man to open a solid channel of communication with the then-UAE economy minister, Sultan bin Saeed al Mansoori. In fact, in his letter to Juan Carlos, the nephew says that the minister “not only asked me to convey warm greetings to you, but he told me that he loved the project and that I should have gone and talked to him from the beginning. He has personally committed himself to promoting the project from his side."
Not what Gomez-Acebo expected
It seemed like a rosy path ahead for Gómez-Acebo, but he hadn’t calculated that Spain's largest corporations had just lost 21 million euros in an almost identical fund in Saudi Arabia, which had been pushed by the royal palace and turned out to be a complete failure. Among the companies that the king's nephew contacted were Abengoa, Acciona, ACS, Adif, Enagás, Endesa, FCC, Ferrovial, Gamesa, Grupo Villar Mir, Iberdrola, OHL, Renfe, Repsol, Talgo and Técnicas Reunidas.
This latest fraudulent operation and use of influence peddling involving the former Spanish king is another nail in the coffin for the reputation of Juan Carlos, who is already under investigation for three different economic matters in the Spanish Supreme Court with one further inquiry opened in Switzerland. In Spain he faces investigation for the regularization of more than 600,000 euros of financially-opaque credit cards, for an undeclared current account on the island of Jersey and also for undeclared accounts in Switzerland, which is also being investigated by Swiss prosecutors.