Spain's Juan Carlos I does not have full immunity from prosecution by Swiss justice. University of Zurich law professor Frank Meyer has told public news provider Swissinfo that, although the former king is inviolable in Spain, "Spanish law has no direct effect on Switzerland." "Juan Carlos I was able to benefit from a 'functional immunity' when he was king, but that immunity was tied to his function as a public agent of the state and does not apply with respect to the private person," adds Meyer.
“Furthermore, ex-officio immunity would not be applied if subsequent money laundering actions had taken place,” the legal expert states. The Swiss news provider argues that for this reason it will be crucial for the investigations to analyze all of the actions and the periods to which they refer.
In the article, Swissinfo also states that the thesis in Spain is that the king emeritus is unable to be prosecuted for actions that took place when he was monarch, applying to personal matters as well, and in this regard, the article quotes lawyer Ignasi Guardans. "The prevailing criterion among Spanish jurists is that Juan Carlos cannot be prosecuted for crimes dating from before June 2014," he indicates, alluding to the moment that the Spanish monarch abdicated. "However, it is possible that some offences continued after his 2014 change of status. Therefore, the possibility of initiating a trial against Juan Carlos remains open. The king emeritus has said he is leaving the country, but has made it clear that he is still at the disposition of justice," the lawyer says. According to Guardans, these criteria would also be applicable in the event that the king emeritus were tried by the Swiss justice system.
Swissinfo explains that Spain and Switzerland have sent each other requests for mutual legal assistance, and that in the end the prosecutors from the two countries have reached agreement on sharing the investigation. The Spanish prosecution is focusing on Juan Carlos and the businesspeople linked to Saudi Arabian contracts, while the Swiss team is analyzing the other parties involved: Corinna Larsen, Juan Carlos's lawyer in Geneva and the head of the financial company Rhône Gestion.
This Wednesday, Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez has again avoided giving explanations about the whereabouts of Juan Carlos. There is no official information on the current location of the former king, with Sánchez assuring, as he did a few days ago, that the talks he maintains with current head of state Felipe VI, son of the absent ex-monarch, are confidential.
In a press appearance after the Spanish PM's first meeting with Felipe VI since the departure of the king emeritus, which took place this Wednesday on the island of Mallorca, Pedro Sánchez repeated that the Spanish government and the royal house are different institutions and that information relating to Juan Carlos's whereabouts, "must be communicated by the royal house or by the affected person himself."
After the audience at the Marivent palace, a usual summer event, Pedro Sánchez downplayed the importance of this meeting, which he described as an "ordinary meeting at an extraordinarily complex time" and he limited himself to saying that it had dealt with issues such as the "social and economic emergency".