The Spanish Supreme Court has announced an investigation into the possibility of the reclusive king Juan Carlos, involved in a corruption case linked to the construction of a high-speed train in Saudi Arabia.
The court’s prosecutor’s office said it had been seeking to unveil the former king’s relationship with the project since June 2014, the date on which Juan Carlos (82 years old) lost his immunity when he abdicated in favor of his son Felipe.
Spanish companies have won a contract worth 6.7 billion euros to build a express train line between Mecca and Medina.
The investigation includes Swiss banks, and Spanish anti-corruption officials suspect that the former king has hidden undisclosed funds in Switzerland, where the investigation is still ongoing. According to the Spanish website, “La Vanguardia”, Spanish investigators are awaiting documents on the file from the Swiss authorities.
The Prosecutor’s Office said that the investigation “aims to establish or exclude the criminal necessity (prosecution) based on the facts that took place after the month of June 2014”.
There has been no comment on the previous king or his lawyer yet.
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The Spanish government said it “will not interfere in the investigation” and that “justice is at the same distance from everyone.”
Last March, King Felipe VI announced the abandonment of the legacy of his father, Juan Carlos, “in order to preserve the crown as an example to be followed.”
For his part, the royal palace announced earlier that Juan Carlos will no longer receive his annual allocations in excess of 194,000 euros.
The investigation will be led by economic crime specialist Juan Ignacio Campos, with the assistance of three other Supreme Court prosecutors.
The investigation was opened in September 2018 after the recordings of Juan Carlos’ former mistress, Corina Seine Wittgenstein, were reported, in which it was reported that the former king had received a commission related to the contract for the Saudi train.
Juan Carlos ascended the throne in 1975 after the death of General Francisco Franco, the fascist dictator who had ruled Spain for 36 years.
Juan Carlos was greatly appreciated for having put Spain on the path to democracy during a difficult period. But he faced criticism at the end of his 39-year reign.
The calls to step him down came after corruption charges against his youngest daughter Christina and her husband, and after participating in a sumptuous elephant hunting trip in Botswana in 2012.