King Juan Carlos and the King of Arabia, Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz
20 July 2020
Zarzuela Palace on 15 March , issued an official statement stating that King Felipe VI has officially renounced his inheritance from his father, with the view to distancing himself from the former monarch who is embroiled in investigation by Swiss financial authorities for funds gained through two different foundations. The payments were allegedly made by Saudi rulers, with world media estimating that the former sovereign received approximately US$100 million in payments from the late King Abdullah, through a Panama-based foundation called Lucum. The foundation was liquidated in 2012, with almost the entire original amount donated to Ms. zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, a German-born businesswoman and former lover of Juan Carlos. Ms. zu Sayn-Wittgenstein said that she has a contract signed by Juan Carlos demonstrating that the donation was an “irrevocable gift” and not a money-laundering scheme, but also says she paid back money loaned to her from Lucum to buy a pair of apartments used by her and Juan Carlos in the Swiss resort of Villars.
Juan Carlos abdicated in response to rumours about his scandalous personal life in 2014. His son, King Felipe sought to cut an austere figure to that of his father.
Swiss prosecutor Yves Bertossa’s ongoing inquiry centres on a $100m gift to Juan Carlos from the king of Saudi Arabia in 2008, and whether it was in connection with the awarding of a €6.7bn contract for a Spanish consortium to build a high-speed railway from Medina to Mecca three years later. It is not clear why the Saudi king should pay a bribe to award a construction contract to a Spanish contractor. It is understandable for a contractor to pay a bribe to get a contract.
Alvaro de Orleans, 73, a distant cousin of Juan Carlos I, is the owner of the Zagatka Foundation. He paid for private flights for the King Emeritus. His two sons are the first and second beneficiaries of the Foundation. The King Emeritus, Juan Carlos I, is named third beneficiary of these funds, in the event of the death of his two sons. In the same document, dated May 8, 2006, Felipe VI is established as the fourth beneficiary of these funds in the event of his father’s death. The document names Elena and Cristina de Borbon as fifth beneficiaries, only in the event that Felipe VI died.
The statement issued by the King indicates that he was “completely unaware” of his designation as beneficiary of the Zagatka funds. And he adds that, if that designation is true, he renounces it.
Alvaro de Orleans told the newspapers that he created this foundation to follow the tradition of his father and his grandfather to help the European monarchies and assured that the funds were “exclusively” his.