Yves Bertossa, the Swiss prosecutor investigating the 65 million donation from Saudi Arabia to Juan Carlos I, has given a new twist to his investigations. The chief prosecutor of Geneva has extended the list of those investigated ( prévenus in its French name) to Yves Mirabaud, president of the Mirabaud & Cie bank, in which on August 8, 2008 they reached the 100 million dollars (65 million euros at the change of the time), according to sources of the case and confirmed to EL PAÍS.
Yves Mirabaud is being investigated for allegedly failing to comply with the duty to report this suspicious operation of the king emeritus to the Money Laundering Reporting Office Switzerland (MROS), the Swiss administrative body that ensures the fight against money laundering in the banks of that country. Mirabaud & Cie private banking was founded in 1819 and has offices and subsidiaries in Switzerland, Canada, France and the United Kingdom, as well as branches in Madrid, Barcelona and Seville.
The MROS office functions as a point transmission between financial intermediaries and law enforcement agencies. Its officials analyze the dubious transactions reported by the banks, prepare their reports and forward them to the police. MROS belongs to the Egmont Group, an international association that brings together the main financial intelligence units that fight money laundering and terrorist financing. In Spain, the Money Laundering Prevention Service (Sepblac) carries out similar tasks.
Prosecutor Bertossa’s decision to investigate the banker Yves Mirabaud was adopted several weeks ago, after taking a new statement from the main actors in the case and focus on their alleged lack of diligence in the receipt and handling of the 65 million that the Ministry of Finance of Saudi Arabia transferred to the Panamanian company Lucum in this private bank in Geneva, which manages millionaire wealth . After the screen of this company, Juan Carlos I appeared as the first beneficiary, and Felipe VI as the second. The Royal House indicated at the time that the current head of state was unaware of his presence in Lucum’s statutes.
As soon as the case began, the Swiss prosecutor informed those responsible for Mirabaud & Cie that the bank as an entity He appeared as an investigator for an alleged aggravated crime of money laundering. Since then, Arturo Fasana, the external manager of the emeritus king’s account, has been in the same situation; Dante Canónica, the lawyer and director of the Panamanian Lucum Foundation; and Corinna Larsen, examiner of the monarch to whom in 2012 Juan Carlos I transferred 64.8 million to an account at the Gonet & Cie bank in Nassau (Bahamas). To the list is added the president of the bank for a different accusation.
In a safe
Until now, Yves Mirabaud had testified before Bertossa as a witness. So have Antoine Boisser, a retired manager and friend of Arturo Fasana, who brought the millionaire account to the bank, and one of the bank’s administrators, Luc Thévenoz. From their statements, which this newspaper advanced, it is concluded that not even the entity’s compliance department (compliance, ), which watches over the reputation of the institution and examines PEP clients. English for “politically exposed persons”), nor did the legal department know that Juan Carlos I was their client.
The Lucum Foundation form associated with the account of the then head of state was kept in a safe and Only six of the members of the so-called Council of Associates knew that the final beneficiary of the Panamanian foundation was Juan Carlos I. In his statement before the Swiss prosecutor, Yves Mirabaud explained this secrecy as follows: “The only reason why it is decided to maintain the Confidentiality within the bank of the name of that beneficiary was as follows: it was a matter of avoiding too wide a dispersion among employees with the intention of maintaining discretion. ”
– The Council of Associates questioned the possible legality of said donation in favor of a representative of the State?, Asked the prosecutor Bertossa to the banker.
– I do not remember that we have asked the advisers for information Mirabaud responded.
“Were there clients that the compliance department and the legal department did not know about?” prosecutor.
—No clients, yes a beneficiary, namely: the former king of Spain. He is the only beneficiary known to only all the members of the Associates Council. Historically, there may have been another beneficiary known only to associates. It is an old relationship. The person died several decades ago.
Mirabaud acknowledged that he, as a member of the bank’s executive committee, chaired the bank’s old anti-money laundering committee from 2003 to 2013. The president stated that he did inform the person in charge “verbally” of the compliance department on the final beneficiary of Lucum and added that to the extent that Juan Carlos I was a PEP, “it was the Associates Council that gave the go-ahead to that opening.” But he specified that it was not he who personally took care of opening that account.
No one recommended that the money be declared to the Treasury
The prosecutor Bertossa has been able to prove that no one from the bank demanded or recommended that The 65 million will be declared to the Spanish Treasury. Nor did Nicolás Gonet, the owner of Gonet & Cie, the entity that received the 64.8 million donated by the King Emeritus to Corinna Larsen at its Nassau (Bahamas) subsidiary.
The president of Mirabaud & Cie told the prosecutor that she participated in the discussions that led to the closure of Lucum’s account in 2012. “Mirabaud had increased its presence in Spain. At that time, the performances of the King of Spain began to appear in the headlines of many newspapers. I am referring above all to a trip to Africa, according to the press, to hunt elephants. We consider that it was not appropriate to maintain that account. We inform Mr. Fasana and the Canonical lawyer. They took note, it was not I who informed the aforementioned of that decision. It was Mr. Boisser or Antonio Palma (former associate of the bank). ”
Mirabaud acknowledged that he saw Arturo Fasana, the account manager of Juan Carlos I,“ on three or five occasions ”and that when his name in the Spanish press linked to the Gürtel case decided not to do without their services. Rhône Gestion, Fasana’s Geneva fund manager, has about 400 clients, moves around 1 billion and works especially with two Swiss banks, Mirabaud & Cie and Pictet.
About Dante Canónica, the foundation’s director Panamanian Lucum, the Swiss banker assured that it was presented to him by former Mirabaud director Antoine Boissier and that he has seen it “a dozen times, perhaps more, in social gatherings.”