Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Spanish parliament rejects probe of ex-King Juan Carlos link to money laundering

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The Spanish parliament on Tuesday rejected for the second time in two years a request by several parties to open an investigation into the business activities of former King Juan Carlos.

Unidas Podemos, which is part of the government coalition together with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s PSOE, had together with other smaller left-wing parties called for an inquiry into reports by Switzerland’s La Tribune de Geneve.

La Tribune wrote last week that Juan Carlos, who was king at the time, received $100 million dollar from Saudi Arabia’s king 12 years ago, and later gave $65 million to Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, a businesswoman whose close relation with Juna Carlos led to his abdication in 2014.

According to La Tribune de Geneve, which cited unnamed sources, a Swiss prosecutor’s office is investigating the origin of the bank transfer to zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, which it said came via a foundation in Panama.

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The king’s office, the Geneva prosecutor’s office and representatives for zu Sayn Wittgenstein declined to comment on the matter.

According to a statement sent to EFE news agency by zu Sayn Wittgenstein’s lawyer Robin Rathmell, she “received an unsolicited gift” from Juan Carlos for her and her son.

“The donation was clearly documented as a gift, and professional services firms and banks performed the necessary compliance and due diligence on the funds,” the lawyer was quoted as saying.

The Socialists opposed the investigation on the grounds that the Spanish Constitution gives the king blanket immunity, describing him as “inviolable.”

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“I am surprised that there are political parties that are again asking for a committee of inquiry when they know that there is no constitutional room for it”, said Adriana Lastra, the Socialists’ spokeswoman in parliament.

Parliament’s governing body rejected the proposal for an investigation with the votes against from PSOE, and parties on the right – People’s Party and Vox – after the lawyers of the House advised against its legality.

The parties who asked for the inquiry are allies of Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, instrumental for him to stay in power and pass laws.

“These are the differences that we are clear about between the two parties. They are spoken and agreed discrepancies, so they are not going to mean a break from the government,” a Podemos spokesman said.

original article on reuters.com

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