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The New Arab Staff

Former Spanish king faces probe over Saudi kickbacks scandal

Former King Juan Carlos allegedly received $100 million from late Saudi King Abdullah [AFP/Getty]

Date of publication: 9 June, 2020

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Former King Juan Carlos allegedly received $100 million in kickbacks from Saudi Arabia in relation to a multi-billion dollar rail deal.
Spain's former king is being investigated over claims he received millions of dollars in kickbacks from Saudi Arabia in relation to a Spanish consortium's €6.7bn (£5.9bn) deal to build a high-speed rail line in the kingdom.

Former King Juan Carlos allegedly received a $100 million (€88 million) payment from late Saudi King Abdullah in 2008, three years before the contract was awarded, according to reports published earlier this year.

On Monday, the Spanish supreme court prosecutor said a probe had been launched to "define or discard the criminal relevance of events that occurred after June 2014".

The investigation "pertains to the second phase of the construction of a high-speed rail line to join the cities of Medina and Mecca", the prosecutor said in a statement.

The contract began in 2011 but prosecutors will be investigating from 2014, when Juan Carlos abdicated the throne and ceased to benefit from immunity from prosecution.

Controversy surrounding the former king's financial dealings has seen his son, King Felipe VI, strip Juan Carlos of his annual stipend.

The Spanish king also renounced his personal inheritance from his father over claims the money would come from a secret offshore fund linked to Saudi Arabia. 

The Panama-based account held €65 million ($73 million) in funds descibed as a "donation" from the "King of Saudi Arabia", The Daily Telegraph reported.

Swiss prosecutors are also investigating the alleged transfer of funds from the late King Abdullah to Juan Carlos.

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