Swiss prosecutor closes investigation into Saudi donation to former king of Spain

Authorities conclude that it has not been possible to "sufficiently" establish a link with illegal tenders

Former Spanish king Juan Carlos I at the Zarzuela palace (REUTERS)
Former Spanish king Juan Carlos I at the Zarzuela palace (REUTERS) / ACN

ACN | Madrid

December 13, 2021 05:47 PM

Swiss prosecutor Yves Bertossa has closed the investigation into the donation of €100m from Saudi Arabia to Juan Carlos I, the former king of Spain.

According to the Swiss newspaper Tribune de Genève, and subsequently confirmed by the public prosecutor in a statement, the prosecution concluded the investigation and notified the parties on Monday.

The Swiss prosecutor's office had launched an investigation into money laundering against Corinna Larsen, the former partner of Juan Carlos I, as well as Dante Canónica and Arturo Fasana – the former monarch's fund managers – and the Swiss bank Mirabaud. Larsen, also known as Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, was transferred €65m of the Saudi donation, which she told the BBC in 2019 amounted to "an extremely generous gift."

The prosecution's statement said: "The investigation has not been able to sufficiently establish a link between the money received from Saudi Arabia" and the alleged illegal tenders awarded for the construction contracts of the high-speed rail in Mecca.

The bank Mirabaud, however, has been fined for violating its obligation to inform the relevant authorities of the money received by Larsen, given its "unusual" nature.

Spanish investigation continues

The Spanish Supreme Court's investigation into the king emeritus has been extended for another six months, sources in the public prosecutor's office told the Catalan News Agency (ACN) in December.

Prosecutors are investigating money hidden in a financial trust in the tax haven of the island of Jersey, allegedly linked to the former monarch. They are awaiting documents coming from Switzerland.


Juan Carlos I has been surrounded by scandals over the past number of years and in 2020 he decided to leave Spain to live in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), amid mounting corruption allegations.

In February 2021, it was revealed that the former king of Spain had paid the tax office €4.396m for previously undeclared income relating to flights on a private jet.


Listen to the podcast below from March 2021 on the various corruption scandals rocking the Spanish monarchy and why support for the royal family in Catalonia is almost non-existent.