Spain’s Attorney General has tasked Supreme Court prosecutors with investigating new corruption allegations against the country’s disgraced former king.
Juan Carlos, who abdicated in 2014, is already under investigation into his alleged role in a deal in which a Spanish consortium won a € 6.7 billion (£ 5.9 billion sterling) for the construction of a high-speed rail line in Saudi Arabia.
Reports emerged in March suggesting that Juan Carlos received a payment of $ 100 million (€ 88 million) from King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in 2008, three years before the contract was awarded. The king was covered by constitutional immunity when he was on the throne, but lost protection when he resigned to make way for his son, King Felipe.
The attorney general’s office did not give details of the new investigation, but said in a statement Tuesday that an executive order had been issued directing anti-corruption and organized crime prosecutors to submit their reports on the former King to Supreme Court prosecutors “so that they can continue investigations until their conclusion”.
The announcement came hours after online newspaper ElDiario.es reported that anti-corruption prosecutors were investigating Juan Carlos, his wife Sofía and other members of the royal family over the use of credit cards linked to accounts not held in their name.
According to Eldiario.es, the transactions under investigation took place between 2016 and 2018, after Juan Carlos lost his immunity.
He abdicated after a series of damaging scandals that culminated in a controversial elephant hunting trip to Botswana, while Spain was devastated by the effects of the 2008 financial crisis.
But the scandals refused to end. Felipe stripped Juan Carlos of his annual allowance in March and renounced his father’s personal inheritance after learning he was set to receive millions of euros from a secret Saudi-linked offshore fund Arabia.
The Supreme Court prosecutor said three months later that an investigation had been opened into “the second phase of the construction of a high-speed rail line to reach the cities of Medina and Mecca” and aimed at to “define or rule out the penal relevance of events that occurred after June 2014”, when Juan Carlos’s immunity ended.
Prosecutors in Switzerland are examining a number of accounts of the former monarch and his associates allegedly held in the country.
It is alleged in documents from the Swiss prosecutor that Juan Carlos received a “donation” of $ 100 million from the King of Saudi Arabia which he placed in an offshore account in 2008. He allegedly donated $ 65 million. euros from the account to his former lover, Corinna Larsen, four years later.
Spain’s El Confidencial website reported in July that Juan Carlos had withdrawn € 100,000 per month from the account between 2008 and 2012 and used that money to pay for certain expenses of the royal family.
Juan Carlos said he never told his son he should benefit from two offshore funds, but made no further comment on the allegations.
He announced in August that he was going into exile to protect his son from further embarrassment. In a letter sent to Felipe and published by the royal household, Juan Carlos said he would be moving from Spain because of “the public repercussions of certain past events in my private life”.