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Swiss Prosecutors Drop Money-Laundering Case Against Juan Carlos

GENEVA — Geneva’s chief prosecutor said Monday that a criminal investigation into allegations that Spain’s former king, Juan Carlos, laundered illegal commission payments from Saudi Arabia related to a high-speed rail deal has been closed because of insufficient evidence.

But a Swiss private bank, Mirabeau, which was involved in the three-year investigation, was fined over a reporting failure related to the case.

The prosecutor, Yves Bertossa, said he had established that Saudi Arabia had paid $100 million in August 2008 into an account opened a month earlier at Mirabaud in the name of a Panamanian foundation whose beneficial owner was Juan Carlos.

But Mr. Bertossa said in a statement that he had been unable to prove a clear link to a contract awarded three years later to Spanish companies for a high-speed rail connection in Saudi Arabia.

The Spanish royal household declined to comment. Juan Carlos, who is living in exile in the United Arab Emirates, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Through his lawyer, Juan Carlos has previously declined to comment on the various accusations of wrongdoing against him.

Mr. Bertossa said he had opened the criminal investigation in 2018, after news reports that the former king, who abdicated in 2014, may have received “illegal commissions” linked to the contracts and placed the funds in Swiss accounts.

“The investigation has established that Juan Carlos I did, in fact, receive $100 million on the Lucum foundation account at Mirabaud & Cie SA in Geneva, from the Saudi Finance Ministry on Aug. 8, 2008,” Mr. Bertossa said.

But he said he had been unable to sufficiently prove the relation between the Saudi payment and the contract for the rail link, which runs between Medina and Mecca.

Additional payments of nearly $9 million from Kuwait and Bahrain were received on accounts held by Juan Carlos and his former girlfriend, Corinna Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, Mr. Bertossa said. She received the balance of 65 million euros, or $73.3 million, from the Mirabaud account, which was closed in June 2012, and the funds transferred to her account in the Bahamas, the prosecutor said.

Charges against five parties, which included Ms. Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein and Mirabaud, according to court documents, for reported “aggravated money-laundering” were dismissed, Mr. Bertossa said. Juan Carlos was not among the five suspects who were indicted.

“Today, I have finally been cleared of wrongdoing of any kind in the three-year investigation conducted by the Swiss prosecutor,” Ms. Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein said in a statement to Reuters.

Mirabaud bank was fined 50,000 Swiss francs, or about $54,000, for having failed to report Ms. Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein’s account and its unusual activity of funds received from the foundation owned by the former king, the prosecutor’s statement said.

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