Switzerland closes case for laundering of Juan Carlos

Prosecutors in Geneva fined a Swiss bank for not alerting the authorities to launder money for at least 100 million dollars from Saudi Arabia that would have reached the hands of the Spanish King Emeritus Juan Carlos and his former lover. On the other hand, they dropped the possible charges against the monarch’s associates in the case.

The Geneva prosecutor’s office said in a statement Monday that it was partially abandoning a three-year-old investigation of five people for alleged money laundering, while determining that the Mirabaud bank did not communicate properly with the Swiss money laundering office.

The Swiss investigation began after the Spanish press published reports about possible illegal payments that benefited the king in the award of public contracts to Spanish companies, funds that could have been hidden in Swiss banks. Some of those payments were suspected of being linked to commissions on a high-speed rail project from Medina to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Juan Carlos, 83, was not among the five investigated in this investigation.

Investigators discovered that Juan Carlos received on August 1, 2008 – before abdicating the throne – through a foundation known as Lucum, $ 100 million from the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Finance, the prosecutor’s office said. It also emerged that the king or his ex-lover Corinna Larsen, a Danish-German businesswoman, received more money.

“My innocence was evident from the beginning and this episode has served to further harm me as part of the campaign of abuse against me by certain Spanish interests,” said Larsen, who identifies herself as Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein. “The main criminals, meanwhile, have not been investigated and have been given time to conceal their activities. They are still not being held accountable ”.

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The prosecution said that the use of a foundation to receive the funds “demonstrated a desire” to conceal those resources, but “the investigation, however, could not sufficiently establish any link between the amount received from Saudi Arabia and the holding of contracts for the construction of the high-speed train ”.

The Swiss authority ordered Mirabaud to pay a fine plus legal fees totaling 200,000 Swiss francs ($ 217,000) for failing to alert the money laundering office about Larsen’s personal account.

In a statement, the bank said that the decision was “equivalent to an absolute acquittal, confirming that the bank has not committed any crime of money laundering” and “puts an end to the baseless accusations that were made.”

The Supreme Court of Spain is still investigating the alleged bribes in the Saudi high-speed train contract, the alleged funds of the king emeritus in tax havens and the possible fraud of the tax authorities.

According to press reports, Juan Carlos has lived in the United Arab Emirates since mid-2020, when accusations of financial scandals surrounded him and embarrassed the Royal Household.

His son Felipe VI ascended the Spanish throne after his father’s abdication in 2014, and has since distanced himself from him.

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