Spain’s King Juan Carlos, the father of reigning King Felipe VI, is under investigation for suspected kickback payments related to the contract to build the high-speed train line to Mecca from Medina in Saudi Arabia.
The Supreme Court’s prosecutor made the announcement Monday saying that the probe would focus on the second construction phase of the bullet train railway line which saw the AVE contract awarded to 12 Spanish companies in 2011. The former monarch’s link was discovered while investigators were looking into retired police chief José Manuel Villarejo who is now in jail after two decades of work he carried out.
However, the investigation will start in June 2014 – the same month the King abdicated in favour of his only son, Felipe. At the point of his abdication, Juan Carlos lost the protection of the head of state granted by the constitution. It will be undertaken by one of the court’s chief prosecutors, Juan Ignacio Campos, and three assistants in what the prosecutor called an “undeniable, technically complex” probe.
In the statement Monday, the prosecutor said the investigation would “define or dismiss the criminal relevance” of actions that had taken place.
“This investigation focuses, precisely, on establishing or discarding the criminal relevance of deeds that happened after June 2014, when the King Emeritus was no longer protected by inviolability,” the statement said.
Neither Casa Real nor King Juan Carlos’s attorneys have commented, according to Reuters.
A lower court in Spain previously looked into the case and refused to investigate the former ruler.
In addition, the King Emeritus is also being investigated by Swiss authorities regarding an account belonging to Juan Carlos that saw $100 million transferred by the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
Due to the controversy regarding King Juan Carlos and possible funds from Saudi Arabia, King Felipe relinquished his personal inheritance from his father in March.