Juan Carlos I was confident that, with the voluntary declaration presented to the Treasury, he would avoid a lawsuit over his family's use opaque cards. But the ex king's hopes could be dashed. Far from closing the investigation after paying the Treasury €678,394, the prosecution has decided to expand it. In a statement, the Public Prosecutor's Office said on Friday that the team of prosecutors who are handling all the cases surrounding the King Emeritus has decided that the Supreme Court's Prosecutor's Office should assess "the spontaneity, truthfulness and completeness" of the regularisation carried out by the former monarch.
The terms are not casual. The law states that any citizen may file a voluntary declaration, as long as the Tax Office has not reported them or a complaint has been filed. Doing so is not considered an admission of tax fraud, since it could have been an honest mistake in the tax return and the Treasury rewards the payment to the State's coffers. However, since February 2019 the doctrine of the Supreme Court requires that the payment is made before a citizen knows that there is an investigation.
The notice in early November
It so happens that Juan Carlos I was warned in early November by the Prosecutor's Office of the investigation into the opaque cards. It was just when the case came to light, thanks to information published by eldiario.es. The Supreme Court's Prosecutor's Office will now analyse whether the payment to the Treasury complies with the provisions of Article 305.4 of the Criminal Code, which exculpates the person who pays the debts from the tax offence before "the Public Prosecutor's Office carries out actions that allow it to have formal knowledge of the initiation of proceedings".
If the notification by the Prosecutor's Office is proven (it is currently unknown how it was carried out), the ex king regularisation of his taxes would have to be rejected. A February 2019 precedent exists, in which a Galician businessman regularised his taxes a few days before going to a summons from the Public Prosecutor's Office once he knew he was being investigated.
However, Supreme Court sources cited by Europa Press, point out that despite the existence of this doctrine, in these cases the existence of a complaint or lawsuit usually prevails. In the case of Juan Carlos I has not occurred. However, there is room for a legal debate on the subject before announcing whether or not the investigation into opaque cards, which also affected Queen Sofia and some of the ex King's grandchidren, will go ahead. There is an additional investigation into €65m in fees allegedly received by the former monarch for mediating in the high speed train to Mecca project.