The Swiss judiciary has opened an official investigation into a major corruption case linked to Saudi Arabia targeting the former Spanish King Juan Carlos.
The investigation targets a possible money laundering case involving people linked to the former Spanish king and a private bank in the canton of Geneva.
The investigation relates to a $100 million transfer that the late Saudi King, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, reportedly gave to Juan Carlos from the Saudi state treasury in 2008.
There are also reasons to believe that this amount is “related to the conclusion of a contract worth 6.7 billion euros for constructing a high-speed railway linking Medina and Makkah.”
The passage of this money through Switzerland provoked Geneva’s public prosecutor, Yves Bertoia, responsible for complex financial cases, whose investigation into a possible corruption case began years later.
But the sticking point in all of this is that “to charge someone with money laundering in Switzerland requires proof of preparations for the crime abroad.”
Consequently, “the Geneva prosecutor must prove that the transfer of $100 million to Juan Carlos was illegal under Saudi law as well.”
The report stated that the Spanish newspaper El Pais reported earlier that an institute in Spain “concluded that King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, in his capacity as the absolute ruler of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, actually had the power to present a gift of $100 million to a king and a foreign friend from the state treasury.”
The Geneva Prosecutor’s Office refused to confirm or deny information about whether he had submitted a request for legal assistance from Saudi Arabia.
He also points out that “the Saudi embassy in Bern declined to provide any response when a question was asked about this issue.”
However, it is expected that “the Swiss investigator will seek the assistance of Saudi law in the case of Juan Carlos.”
Corruption investigations are still chasing the former King of Spain, Juan Carlos, and undermining the possibility of his return to his country, which he was forced to leave on August 3, 2020, to the UAE, living a luxurious life in exile.
The 83-year-old former Spanish monarch had made it clear at the time that he would leave the country because he wanted to “make it easier” for his son to carry out his duties in light of the “public consequences of some past events in his private life.”
But his visit to the UAE sparked more criticism, as doubts about his mysterious wealth are linked to his relationship with Gulf monarchs, especially in Saudi Arabia.
Juan Carlos is facing investigations in Spain and Switzerland. The judiciary is seeking to determine whether he received a commission related to a contract to build a high-speed train line in Saudi Arabia in 2011 awarded to a group of Spanish companies.
This case centres on the $100 million allegedly deposited in 2008 by the late Saudi King Abdullah into a Swiss bank account that Juan Carlos had access to.
Juan Carlos has not yet been prosecuted for any misdemeanour. But those investigations tarnished the reputation of the man who played a crucial role in the transition from Franco’s dictatorship to democracy in 1975 before he abdicated the throne to his son in 2014 when embarrassing reports about his lifestyle poured in.