A €10m Jersey trust at the centre of an investigation into Spain’s exiled former king is believed to hold cash offered as a “sweetener” for the country’s support for the coalition against Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War, it has been reported.
Launched last year, the probe into Juan Carlos I was triggered by an apparent attempt to transfer millions of euros from the offshore account, which was picked up by the country’s anti-money laundering authority.
Although the transfer was in the name of a third party, according to the Telegraph, the former royal was the “presumed recipient" of the transfer.
The ‘Rey Emeritus’ has previously vigorously denied keeping a hidden fortune in Jersey, saying he was “not responsible for any Jersey trust and never has been, either directly or indirectly.”
The newspaper also reported that the cash in the fund, which was set up in the 1990s, is thought to have come from the Kuwait Government, linked to the Spanish Government’s support for the war against Iraq.
Court documents reported by Spanish newspaper El Confidencial this week said that the named beneficiary had been identified as Joaquín Romero Maura, former Oxford University lecturer and great-grandson of five-time Spanish Prime Minister Antonio Maura.
He was left as the sole administrator when the trustee who set up the €10m Jersey fund – Juan Carlos’s former close aide, Manual Prado y Colón de Carvajal, who was later jailed for embezzlement – passed away.
Spanish prosecutors want to be able to question Mr Maura, who co-directed the Iberian Centre at St. Antony’s College, about the money and his potential involvement.
However, now 81 and living in a care home with dementia, it’s possible that he will not be able to testify.
Jersey’s financial regulator previously declined to comment on the case when approached by Express, saying it does not respond to questions relating to investigations or its involvement.
Pictured: The JFSC previously declined to state whether it was assisting with the investigation.
However, it added at the time: “We do take allegations and suspicions of money laundering very seriously and will investigate in full all credible and substantial allegations. If we conduct an investigation, our conclusions will be published where there is cause to invoke regulatory sanctions.”
Juan Carlos I, who is facing a number of other probes into his finances, abdicated in 2014 and is now living in Abu Dhabi.
The Jersey proceedings are being led by Attorney General Dolores Delgado and chief anti-corruption prosecutor Alejandro Luzón.
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