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King of Spain's Swiss Bank Accounts No Longer a Secret

In the last few months, numerous scandals have been uncovered in Spain that reveal the extent to which its business and political elite have been pillaging the country's assets and moving the profits to tax havens in which this ill-gotten money remains hidden and idle. At the same time, several scandals [es] have hit the monarchy, causing people to look askance at an institution that until the start of the crisis was mostly well respected in the country.

The latest of these scandals, which El Mundo made public on March 31, has exposed the existence of various Swiss bank accounts under the names of the king of Spain and other members of the royal family [es], with a total balance of more than 728 million pesetas, or over 4 million euros.

Don Juan and Doña María de Borbón with their four children: Alfonso, Juan Carlos, Margarita and Pilar. Photo from the blog lareinadecorazones.com

Don Juan and Doña María de Borbón with their four children: Alfonso, Juan Carlos, Margarita and Pilar. Photo from the blog lareinadecorazones.com

According to the paper, these accounts are part of the inheritance that the king's father, Don Juan de Borbón, left to his children, which he would have in part inherited from his father, King Alfonso XIII, who was expelled from Spain in 1931. From then until General Franco's death, the Spanish royal family lived in exile (in France, Italy, Switzerland and Portugal), so in principle it should not be surprising that their assets were held overseas.

What still seems unclear to many Spaniards is why after so many years (Don Juan returned to Spain in 1981 and died in 1993) these accounts remain in Switzerland, when no member of the royal family lives there. Another crumbling story is the supposed “poverty” that the Bourbons lived through during their years in exile, as all historians until now have agreed that Don Juan and his family lived practically on the largess of wealthy monarchists, even encountering financial hardship. As Rogelio Delgado recounts on his blog Otras esquinas [es],

Ricardo Mateos, autor del libro “Estoril, los años dorados”, recibió el testimonio de muchos de los personajes más cercanos al entorno de don Juan y de doña María, todos ellos coincidentes en una afirmación rotunda: “No tenían un duro”

Ricardo Mateos, author of the book “Estoril, The Golden Years,” interviewed many of the people closest to Don Juan and Doña María's circle, all of whom categorically agreed: “They didn't have a cent”

Palace of La Magdalena, in Santander (Spain). Photo from the blog laspain.com

Palace of La Magdalena, in Santander (Spain). Photo from the blog laspain.com

We now know that Don Juan, in his capacity as Prince of Asturias (heir to the Spanish throne), received cash, jewelry, stocks and properties like the island of Cortegada [es], and the palaces of Miramar [es] and La Magdalena [es] after his father's death. According to several authors, these properties should never have been passed to Don Juan because they were given to Alfonso XIII in his capacity as king and not as an individual, and thus belonged to the National Patrimony.

Also unclear to Spaniards is whether the Swiss accounts that are now the property of the king and his sisters have been filed with the Spanish authorities and taxed accordingly. Several political parties have requested information about these accounts from Parliament [es], although the Department of Finance asserted that:

(…) el Ministerio de Hacienda está sujeto a la ley general tributaria, que no permite difundir datos de obligados tributarios, y una pregunta parlamentaria tampoco permitiría saltarse esto.

… the Department of Finance is subject to the tax code, which does not allow the dissemination of taxpayer data, and even a parliamentary request would not permit us to bypass that.

The opacity surrounding the royal family's finances and the fact that the monarchy falls outside of the future transparency law put forth by the government seems to be increasingly irritating the Spanish people and doing great damage to the institution, which neither the government nor the royal family seem able to perceive, and the consequences of which are difficult to predict.

The people's anger can be seen in the comments left under this story in various news sources. In La república [es], Sento comments:

¿Alguien esperaba otra cosa de esta tropa?

Did anyone expect anything different from this bunch?

In El mundo [es], BENITOPITO says:

“monarquía corrupta e insensible con los dramas sociales de los ciudadanos” ___ esta frase resume muy bien lo que está pasando desde hace bastantes años. La jugada de la democracia fue muy oportuna y muy oportunista, pero cuando se vio el blindaje económico, político y de responsabilidad penal de la familia real, entonces caímos en la cuenta de cómo habían jugado con nosotros, que somos más de 40 millones, y durante casi 40 años. (…)

“a corrupt monarchy that is numb to the social catastrophes of its citizens” ___ this sentence summarizes well what has been happening for many years. The move toward democracy was very opportune and very opportunistic, but when the shield surrounding the economic, political and criminal liability of the royal family became clear, then we realized how they had played us, we who are more than 40 million strong, for almost 40 years….

In the same paper, parmenides64 says:

Pues no esta tan mal la herencia para una persona a quien no se le conoce haber tenido un empleo en su vida.

Well not such a bad inheritance for someone who is not known to have ever held a job in his life.

On Twitter, Miquel A Soler Neira writes:

@MASolerNeira: Si el dinero en Suiza es de una herencia y en 20a [años] no has reparado en traerlo al país del que eres Rey, no pasa nada, no?

@MASolerNeira: If the money in Switzerland is from an inheritance and in 20 years you haven't brought it into the country in which you are King, no big deal, right?

Francisco Guerra Caballero and Felipe J. González commented on elplural.com [es]:

Republican flags waved during a protest against banks. Photo from Facebook page «Alternativas a la banca tradicional.»

Republican flags waved during a protest against banks. Photo from Facebook page «Alternativas a la banca tradicional.»

Francisco Guerra Caballero:
Y todo eso sin tributar en españa ni un solo centimo, pero para eso estamos los currantes de este pais para levantar un imperio en nombre de los borbones.

Francisco Guerra Caballero:
And all this without paying even a single cent in taxes to Spain, but for that we are this country's workers who have raised an empire on behalf of the bourbons.

Felipe J González:
Conducta ejemplar, preconizaba aquí el Juan Car en el palique de fin de año.. Hay que tener mucho temple, que diría Watson.

Felipe J González:

Exemplary conduct, Juan Car called for here in his end of year chat.. One must have mettle, as Watson would say.

In the light of these developments, more people are calling for the abdication of King Juan Carlos, whom some already consider obsolete. Of these voices, the monarchists support abdication in favor of his son Felipe, but the number of Spaniards who claim the right to elect their head of state through a democratic system is growing. As has been the case at various points in Spain's history, at times the future of the monarchy seems dim.

3 comments

  • [...] Written by Lourdes Sada · Translated by Nina Shield, from Global Voices [...]

  • [...] by Lourdes Sada · Translated by Nina Shield · View original post [es] · comments (1) Share: Donate · facebook · twitter · reddit · StumbleUpon · [...]

  • jack loach

    Sods —–
    Law.

    January.—-
    2014.

    For almost two
    decades we have strived to get justice for the injustice we have
    suffered at the hands of a world renowned bank— PICTET & CIE.
    BANK.

    Two yorkshiremen
    both running their own small family businesses trying to resolve the
    problem by taking all the correct legal procedures to recover their
    monies.

    The matter was
    raised in Parliament – twice– the FSA investigated the matter
    concluding that PICTET had rogues operating in their London Bank —
    but the rogues had left —saying no one left to prosecute.??? —–
    so there.

    We then
    approached the Financial Ombudsman Service. (FOS) — our case was
    dealt with by seven different people —- then our numerous E-Mails
    were ignored — nobody would speak to us ——-so there.

    We then asked the
    SFO ( Serious Fraud Office.) to investigate our case —- the
    criteria of our case ticked all their boxes. — we were instructed
    not to send them any documents/evidence.—— in fact they wrote to
    us advising us to go to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.(CAB.)

    Richard Alderman
    the SFO boss —- who responded to our letter was the same man who
    would not investigate the “ Madoff” scandal or the “Libor”
    fiasco.

    The MP’s
    committee —- said he was sloppy— and the SFO was run like “
    Fred Karno’s Circus” ——- so there.

    Our M.P.
    approached our local Chief Constable to investigate—– he was
    called—- Sir Norman Bettison— Chief Constable of West Yorkshire
    Police —- a force that made “ Dad’s Army” look like the S.A.S.
    They were inept – corrupt —malicious — from top to bottom. We
    were criminally dealt with by the Forces Solicitor—- the Head of
    the Economic Crime Unit —-and the Chief Constable —– so there.

    We were then
    advised to pass our complaint against West Yorkshire Police to the
    I.P.C.C. – which we did — they advised us to make our complaint
    to —- the West Yorkshire Police — we did with reluctance — all
    we got was abuse and obfuscation. —– so there.

    Sir Norman
    Bettison —- The Forces solicitor— and the Head of the Economic
    Crime —- have all been removed from their posts and facing criminal
    allegations.

    —— so there.

    We even sought
    justice through the Courts — culminating in a visit to the Court of
    Appeal-London.— On leaving the Courts of Appeal that day our
    barrister a “rising star” informed us — that if that was
    Justice then you can keep it. He quit the law and moved to Canada
    —– so there.

    A few years later
    we learned that one of the judges in our case at the Court of Appeal
    was related to a senior executive of the Pictet Bank —–so there.

    Pictet & Cie
    .Bank — voted private bank of the year 2013.

    Ivan Pictet —-
    Voted banker of the year 2012. —- the senior partner — lied on
    numerous occasions and had documents destroyed — also said genuine
    documents were forgeries. —– so there.

    Ivan Pictet in
    Oct. 2013 —- Given the Legion of Honour — but saying that —-
    honours were given to Hitler — Eichmann — Mussolini —Franco
    — he’s in fitting company. —-so there.

    MONTY
    RAPHAEL.Q.C. — Peters & Peters.London. They were the banks
    lawyers.

    Monty
    Raphael.Q.C. along with Ivan Pictet withheld crucial documents
    requested by the High Court —- the FSA —- and the police Fraud
    Squad. —-so there.

    Monty
    Raphael.Q.C. became an Honorary Queens Counsellor in March. 2012.

    Monty
    Raphael.Q.C. became a Master of the Bench in Nov.2012.

    An expert in
    Fraud —the Doyen of Fraud Lawyers. —– so there.

    This says a lot
    about Banks — the consensus of opinion is that they are highly paid
    “crooks” —- no wonder they voted Ivan Pictet banker of the
    year.

    Full Story.—-
    “google or Yahoo”

    Insert.

    Ivan
    Pictet.Banker.

    Monty
    Raphael.Q.C.

    Ivan Pictet/Monty
    Raphael.

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