Swiss prosecutors have dropped a money-laundering case linked to Spain’s ex-King Juan Carlos. Despite finding that his offshore fund got $100 million from Saudi Arabia, they failed to prove it was an “illegal commission” payment.
The high-profile corruption case collapsed on Monday, with prosecutor Yves Bertossa announcing the closure of the probe.
The investigators proved that a Panamanian foundation whose beneficial owner was Juan Carlos I had received a major donation from Saudi Arabia. However, the inquiry failed to establish any link between that donation and contracts awarded to Spanish companies for construction of a high-speed rail connection in Saudi Arabia three years later, the official revealed.
“The investigation has established that Juan Carlos I did, in fact, receive $100 million on the Lucum foundation account at Mirabaud & Cie SA in Geneva, from the Saudi finance ministry on August 8, 2008,” Bertossa said.
The case was originally launched back in 2018 in the wake of media reports claiming that the former Spanish monarch had allegedly received “illegal commissions” for overseas contracts, stashing his slush funds in Swiss and offshore bank accounts.
While no charges were brought against the former king himself, the case also concerned his associates, including his former lover, Corinna Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein. The king’s mistress was suspected of receiving additional payments of nearly $9 million from Kuwait and Bahrain into her accounts. All the charges against her and other individuals allegedly involved have now been dropped.
While Juan Carlos I – currently believed to be living in the United Arab Emirates – has not made any public statements on the case, Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein welcomed the closure of the probe. In a written statement on Monday, she claimed that some unspecified “principal wrongdoers” remained uninvestigated and “have been given time to conceal their activities” while the probe was ongoing.
“Today I have finally been cleared of wrongdoing of any kind in the three-year investigation conducted by the Swiss prosecutor,” Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein stated. “My innocence was evident at the outset and this episode has served to harm me further as part of the ongoing abuse campaign against me by certain Spanish interests.”
The only entity to face penalties as a result of the corruption scandal is, apparently, the Mirabaud bank, which has been fined 50,000 Swiss francs ($54,100) over its failure to properly report an account over suspicious financial activities. The bank accepted the penalty, welcoming the closure of the proceedings and stating that its alleged failure did not involve the account linked to the former king.