UPDATED at 20.30h on Weds 9 Dec
Spain’s disgraced former king Juan Carlos I – who left Spain in early August for the United Arab Emirates following on-going investigations concerning his finances and corruption scandals – has made a voluntary payment of €678,393.72 to the Spanish tax office, to avoid further action related to some of his financial affairs.
In a statement released on Wednesday, lawyers representing the monarch said that ‘without previous requirement’ by the office dealing with taxes in Spain, Juan Carlos had made the payment, to include interests and surcharges.
The announcement of the payment follows news earlier this week that the former king had submitted a new declaration to the Spanish tax office, in an attempt to put his financial position in order. The news was first reported on Sunday by El Pais newspaper. The new declaration was voluntary and was also presented by the former monarch’s lawyer.
Only last month, Spain’s attorney general had instructed Supreme Court prosecutors to investigate a new case related to Juan Carlos, which had previously been handled by the anti-corruption office. The investigation concerns the use of credit cards linked to bank accounts allegedly not held under his own name, and with money coming from outside Spain. Juan Carlos was already under investigation by the Supreme Court for allegedly receiving commissions in exchange for interceding that a Spanish consortium won a contract to build a high-speed train link to the city of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia.
El Pais newspaper reported that the Spanish treasury was analysing the new declaration and would decide in the coming days whether it needed more information and what action to take.
According to ElDiario.es, who broke the story last month about the alleged credit card irregularities, the activity was carried out ‘at least from 2016 to 2018’, meaning after Juan Carlos lost his immunity as head of state after he abdicated in 2014. Two other individuals have been linked to the investigation: a Mexican businessman and a Spanish Guardia Civil official.
While the Spanish Constitution states that a king cannot be judged by any means, Juan Carlos’ abdication in favour of his son, Felipe VI, in June 2014 apparently put an end to his immunity.
By making the payment to the tax office, Juan Carlos is likely to avoid any criminal case against him related to his finances after 2014, since the law provides that if a person regularises their situation before the tax office notifies the beginning of an investigation, they will avoid any court proceedings.
On 14 March, British newspaper The Telegraph published revelations that Felipe was named as a beneficiary for an offshore fund allegedly containing 65 million euros. The next day, the king relinquished his father’s legacy and withdrew his allocation from the royal family’s payroll.
In May, media in Spain then reported that Juan Carlos I was given 1.7 million euros in cash by Bahrain’s sultan, Hamad bin Isa al Jalifa, in 2010.
In July, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said he was open to an amendment of the constitution to limit the legal immunity of public officials, including the king.
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