Ex-king of Spain faces new money laundering charges

The prosecutor’s office in Spain have opened an investigation into whether ex-king Juan Carlos I used credit cards linked to accounts not registered in his name in a framework of possible money laundering.

Juan Carlos, who abdicated the throne in 2014, has already been charged with corruption over his alleged role in a deal in which a Spanish consortium won a € 6.7bn contract to build a high-speed rail line in Saudi Arabia. The Guardian reports.

As reported in March this year, it became known that Juan Carlos had received €88 million from the King of Saudi Arabia Abdullah in 2008, three years before the conclusion of the contract.

During his reign, the king enjoyed constitutional immunity, but lost his protection when he left, giving way to his son, King Felipe.

The Spanish prosecutor general’s office did not disclose details of the new investigation. But prosecutors noted in a statement that a decree had been issued directing anti-corruption and organized crime prosecutors to hand over their reports on the ex-king to supreme court prosecutors «so that they can continue the investigation until their conclusion».

The announcement came a few hours after the Spanish online newspaper published a news that prosecutors were investigating Juan Carlos, his wife Sofia and other members of the royal family over the use of credit cards linked to accounts not held in their names.

Investigators are looking into the origins of funds deposited in several Spanish bank accounts held by a Mexican company and an official from the Spanish Armed Forces, and whether the money in them had been used by the ex-monarch.

The prosecutor’s office had sent various legal inquiries abroad to determine whether the money deposited in the accounts had been hidden from the Spanish tax authorities.

The transactions under investigation took place between 2016 and 2018, after Juan Carlos forfeited his immunity.

Juan Carlos is currently in the United Arab Emirates and a fugitive from justice.