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ROYALTY

Spain’s king unveils personal assets of €2.6 million

Spain’s royal palace on Monday unveiled King Felipe VI’s personal wealth for the first time, saying it amounted to €2.6 million ($2.8 million).

Spain's king unveils personal assets of €2.6 million
(FILES) In this file photo taken on October 22, 2021 Spain's King Felipe VI delivers a speech during the 2021 Princess of Asturias award ceremony at the Reconquista Hotel in Oviedo. - Spain's royal palace on April 25, 2022 unveiled King Felipe VI's personal wealth for the first time, saying it amounted to €2.6 million ($2.8 million). (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA / AFP)

The announcement came as Spain’s leftist government said it would on Tuesday pass a decree to “strengthen the transparency, accountability, efficiency” of the scandal-hit royal household “in line with the principles that have presided” during Felipe’s reign.

Felipe ascended the throne in 2014 with the goal of restoring the monarchy’s prestige after his father Juan Carlos abdicated against a backdrop of scandals over his finances and love life.

The new king promptly ordered an audit of the royal household’s accounts and issued a “code of conduct” for its members.

Then in 2020 Felipe renounced any future personal inheritance he might receive from his father, and stripped him of his annual allowance after fresh details of his allegedly shady dealings emerged.

The bulk of the king’s personal wealth, around 2.3 million, are deposits in checking or savings accounts, with the rest made up of art, antiques and jewellery, the royal palace statement said.

The heritage comes from the remuneration he received over the last 25 years, first as Prince of Asturias and since 2014 as king, it added.

Since he ascended the throne, Felipe “launched the path of modernisation of the Crown to make it worthy of the respect and trust of its citizens”.

“His Majesty the King, guided by this spirit of service and civic commitment added today to his constitutional responsibilities his personal decision to make public his assets,” the statement said.

A key figure in Spain’s transition to democracy following the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, Juan Carlos was the target of three separate probes over his financial dealings.

One of them involved possible illegal commissions linked to a high-speed rail project in Saudi Arabia that was awarded to a Spanish consortium in 2011.

The inquiries prompted the 84-year-old to flee the country into self-imposed exile in 2020.

Spanish prosecutors shelved all the investigations in March but Juan Carlos announced shortly after that he would continue to live in the United Arab Emirates, and visit Spain frequently.

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CORRUPTION

Spain shelves probe into €7-billion Saudi rail project contract

Spanish prosecutors have dropped a probe into suspicions Spanish firms paid kickbacks to secure a contract to build a high-speed rail link in Saudi Arabia, a ruling made public Thursday showed.

Spain shelves probe into €7-billion Saudi rail project contract

In 2011, Saudi Arabia awarded the contract worth €6.8 billion($7.2 billion) to a consortium of 12 Spanish companies and two Saudi firms to build the railway linking Islam’s holiest cities, Mecca and Medina.

Spanish prosecutors opened an investigation into the deal after a former mistress of Spain’s former king Juan Carlos was heard in a telephone conversation discussing commissions which were allegedly paid to secure the contract.

Anti-corruption prosecutors decided to shelve the probe “as it was not possible to determine the possible commission of the criminal offence”, according to the ruling dated May 4th.

The information which was gathered is “clearly insufficient”, and was “in part contradictory”, it added.

Juan Carlos was the target of a separate probe over the high-speed railway contract.

The investigation centred on $100 million Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah deposited into a Swiss bank account in 2008, to which Juan Carlos had access.

A unit of the highspeed train built by Spanish manufacturer Talgo is loaded onto a freighter in Barcelona’s port in 2014. (Photo by JOSEP LAGO / AFP)

Prosecutors dropped the probe in March, saying the could not establish “any link” between the receipt of the money and the awarding of the contract.

Swiss prosecutors had also opened a probe into the same issue in 2018 but dropped the case in December for lack of evidence.

Saudi Arabia opened the 444-kilometre (275-mile) railway to the public in October 2018. It has improved transport connections between Mecca and Medina during the annual haj pilgrimage.

Spanish construction and engineering firm OHL, train maker Talgo and state track operator Adif were among the firms which made part of the consortium that built the railway.

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