Spanish parliament rejects probe of ex-king’s finances

A Spanish Parliament body that sets the agenda for lawmakers has rejected two proposals that called for the lower chamber to investigate whether former King Juan Carlos received millions of dollars in kickbacks from Saudi Arabia

ByThe Associated Press
March 10, 2020, 11:28 AM
King Juan Carlos
FILE - In this March 10, 2018 file photo, Spain's former monarch King Juan Carlos waves upon his arrival to the Academia Diplomatica de Chile, in Santiago. The Spanish parliament's decision-making board has rejected two proposals calling for the lower chamber to investigate whether former King Juan Carlos received millions of dollars in kick-back payments from Saudi Arabia. The proposals voted Tuesday March 10, 2020 were triggered by an ongoing investigation by Swiss prosecutors into an account reportedly operated for the Spanish monarch, including an alleged payment of 88 million euros (100 million dollars) by late Saudi King Abdullah in 2008. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix, File)
The Associated Press

MADRID -- A Spanish Parliament body that sets the agenda for lawmakers on Tuesday rejected two proposals that called for the lower chamber to investigate whether former King Juan Carlos received millions of dollars in kick-back payments from Saudi Arabia.

An ongoing investigation by Swiss prosecutors of an account allegedly operated for the Spanish monarch triggered the vote. The account allegedly received a payment of 88 million euros ($100 million) from Saudi Arabia's late King Abdullah in 2008.

Lawmakers in Spain voted down a similar motion in 2018.

According to the one of the two broadly similar petitions put forward by several political parties, prosecutors are considering whether the money was a commission for the Spanish king’s help in business deals, among them a Spanish consortium's contract to build the Saudi bullet train connection to Mecca.

Swiss prosecutors are said to be investigating the later transfer of some 65 million euros from the account prior to its closure to a woman named Corinna Larsen, a Danish-German businesswoman long linked by Spanish media to the Spanish king.

Spain’s prosecutors office told The Associated Press it has asked its Swiss counterpart for details of their investigations. Spain's Royal House said it had no comment to make.

The proposals were made by the leftist United We Can group, the junior partner in the country’s Socialist-led coalition government and smaller regional parties, including two pro-Catalan independence groups.

The Socialist party, however, broke with its coalition partner and joined with the right wing opposition parties to vote down the proposals after parliament lawyers said such an investigation would be unconstitutional.

Swiss newspaper Tribune de Geneve first wrote about the Swiss prosecutors' inquiry last week.

The Geneva prosecutor’s office declined to comment.

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