The Prosecutor’s Office has verified that Juan Carlos I kept a hidden fortune in the Jersey tax haven until 2004, but plans to propose the file of the open investigation into it after verifying that there is no trace of actions by the king emeritus in those accounts in recent 17 years. The prosecutors estimate, in the draft of the report that will be proposed to the attorney general, Dolores Delgado, that since 2004, “there is no indication whatsoever that links The JRM 2004 Trust with SMD Juan Carlos de Borbón, neither in its management nor in the capacity to dispose of the funds; At no time has he had the status of beneficiary of the trust (trust) nor is there evidence that he has received any amount from his accounts.” Until June 2014, the king emeritus was protected by inviolability as head of state.
The draft of the Prosecutor’s Office, released this Monday by the Cope chain, describes, however, the origin of the trust – contract with which the title of a property is transferred to a third party. This was established on the island of Jersey in 2004 by Joaquín Romero Maura, historian and advisor to Don Juan Carlos. The history of that trust dates back to the mid-1990s. In fact, it was born from the merger of the funds from two other trusts created in 1995 and 1997 by Manuel de Prado and Colón de Carvajal, a person very close to Juan Carlos I and who died in 2009.
The chief anti-corruption prosecutor, Alejandro Luzón, explains that part of the funds of these two original trusts came from donations made between the fifties and seventies of the last century to Juan Carlos de Borbón. It was money that different people contributed to support the support of the then Prince. Always according to the account of the Chief Anti-Corruption Prosecutor, already in the 1990s “the purpose of both trusts was to support the then King Don Juan Carlos I in the event that he was deposed by an unconstitutional coup or a similar situation and they had him as the only beneficiary”.
The Spanish authorities had already learned of the existence of the tax hideout in the Channel Islands in October 2020, from a suspicious movement of money from Jersey to Spain. This movement alerted the Money Laundering Service (Sepblac), which detected the registration of a trust in the Channel Islands in the early nineties whose owners included Juan Carlos de Borbón.
The team of prosecutors has received numerous documentation from the United Kingdom that proves the presence of the then king during the first years of the society registered in Jersey. If in 2004 there is a change in the control and management of its funds, it is largely due to the sentence that was imposed that year on Manuel Prado and Colón de Carvajal, the person who had created the trust with a significant amount of money, more than ten million euros.
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Between 2004 and 2006, Manuel Prado and Colón de Carvajal were sentenced to two years and one year in prison, respectively, for misappropriation in the Kio case, although they only remained in jail for two months. The first sentence explained how the businessman Javier de la Rosa took advantage of the changes that were triggered as a result of the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in 1990 to divert large funds from the Torras Group, owned by Kio, taking them abroad to deposit them in a Prado account. and Colón de Carvajal, “who agreed to receive them and then give them an unknown destination.” This account of events was assumed by the sentence that the Supreme issued to resolve the appeals presented.
The draft in which the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office proposes the archive of the investigations stops in 2004 to contextualize the decision to establish the aforementioned The JRM 2004 in Jersey. Luzón explains that at that time “the political situation in Spain was stable, the heir, today King Felipe VI, had just married, the Monarchy enjoyed prestige and public knowledge of the existence of the trusts, with the presence of Manuel Prado in them , already convicted by the National High Court, would have required embarrassing explanations”. So King Juan Carlos “decided to liquidate the trusts and transfer their funds to Joaquín Romero Maura.”
The prosecutors tried to receive data from Joaquín Romero, but the attempt to question him at his home was unsuccessful, due to his state of health. Since the beginning of the investigation, the king emeritus, in turn, has denied through sources close to him any link with that Jersey trust. The prosecutors’ report shows that the funds were made available to Joaquín Romero, who named his wife and the British Refugee Council, “a charitable organization founded in 1951 and dedicated to helping refugees and people who, fleeing zones of war, conflict, violence or persecution, seek asylum in the UK.”
As for whether in recent years there could have been movements of trust funds in favor of Don Juan Carlos, the prosecutors’ report underlines that The JRM 2004 Trust has had “low activity.” It adds exhaustively that since the abdication of Juan Carlos I in 2014, when “the inviolability and irresponsibility established by article 56.3 of the Constitution for the King of Spain was rendered ineffective”, the provisions of said funds “have been in some amounts that in no case would reach the quota corresponding to a crime against the Public Treasury, even when such funds had eventually been delivered to a Spanish taxpayer, something of which there is no record. From all this, the Prosecutor’s Office concludes that “it is appropriate to agree (…) the file of the investigation proceedings 44/2020”.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.