Spanish parliament rejects probe of ex-king’s finances

MADRID — The body in the Spanish Parliament that decides on the agenda for lawmakers has rejected two proposals drawn up by several political parties that call for the lower chamber to investigate whether former King Juan Carlos received millions of dollars in kick-back payments from Saudi Arabia.

The proposals voted Tuesday were triggered by an ongoing investigation by Swiss prosecutors into an account reportedly operated for the Spanish monarch that allegedly received a payment of 88 million euros ($100 million) from late Saudi King Abdullah in 2008. A similar motion was rejected in 2018.

According to the one petition, prosecutors are considering whether the money was a commission for the Spanish king’s help in business deals, among them a Spanish consortium's contract to build the Saudi bullet train connection to Mecca. The two petitions were broadly similar.

Swiss prosecutors are said to be probing the later transfer of some 65 million euros from the account prior to its closure to a woman named Corinna Larsen, a Danish-German businesswoman long linked by Spanish media to the Spanish king.

Spain’s prosecutors office told The Associated Press it has asked its Swiss counterpart for details of their investigations. Spain's Royal House said it had no comment to make.

The proposals were made by the leftist United We Can group, the junior partner in the country’s Socialist-led coalition government and smaller regional parties, including two pro-Catalan independence groups.

The Socialist party, however, broke with its coalition partner and joined with the right wing opposition parties to vote down the proposals after parliament lawyers said such an investigation would be unconstitutional.

Swiss broadsheet Tribune de Geneve first wrote about the Swiss prosecutors' inquiry last week.

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