Òmnium Cultural’s request to block former King of Spain Juan Carlos I’s funds in Switzerland reaches the Swiss Parliament


Bern, 22th September – Yesterday, MP Christian Dandrès, a member Switzerland’s parliament, the Assemblée Fédéral, presented a written parliamentary question to the Conseil Fédéral (the Swiss Executive) regarding the investigations into the Swiss bank accounts of Spain´s former king, Juan Carlos I and his allegedly illicit assets in Switzerland. The written question was signed by Dandrès (Parti Socialist) and 20 other Members of Parliament from the Parti Socialiste, Partit Écologiste and Parti du Travail political parties, representing a dozen different Swiss cantons.

The written question was motivated by the report that Catalonia´s NGO Òmnium Cultural addressed to the Swiss Government on 1 July 2020, where it called for the implementation of the “Federal Act on Freezing and Restitution of Illicit Assets held by Foreign Politically Exposed Persons” and asked that the Swiss government block the former monarch´s Swiss bank accounts pending the results of the Swiss authorities´ investigations, which allegedly were funded by illegal activities involved with corruption and money laundering.

The Swiss Government refused to block the former monarch´s funds on the grounds that the measures foreseen by said Act are only applicable to “extraordinary situations” and that the Spanish former king´s case doesn´t meet these criteria. This decision led a group of members of the Assemblée Fédéral to put several official questions to the Swiss Executive, quoting Òmnium’s petition to block the Juan Carlos I funds.

The questions raised are:

  1. Is it considered “normal” that a foreign Head of State makes use of Swiss financial institutions to carry out opaque financial operations with tens of millions of dollars of allegedly illicit origin?
  2. What steps have the Swiss federal authorities taken to determine the origin of the funds that the former King of Spain deposited in Switzerland?
  3. Taking into account the recent exit of the former king from Spain to a country where Switzerland has no extradition treaty or mutual assistance agreement in place, does the Federal Council have any intention to reconsider the situation and order that the former monarch´s funds in Switzerland be blocked?
  4. Is there any ongoing mutual aid procedure available, since the case refers to alleged infractions of potentially both Spanish and/or Swiss tax legislation?
  5. Is the apparent inaction of the Swiss federal authorities compatible with Switzerland’s international commitments to the fight against corruption?


In addition, the text mentions the alleged US$100 million fortune currently being investigated by the Geneva Prosecutor’s office for alleged corruption and money laundering by former King Juan Carlos I and his recent escape to the United Arab Emirates.

18 of the 21 signatories to the written questions are members of the Parti
Socialiste (Socialist Party), the second largest group in Switzerland´s
parliament, the Assémblée Fédéral. They include Mr. Pierre Yves Maillard,
President of the largest trade union in Switzerland, the Union Syndical Suisse.

For the record, Simonetta Sommaruga, the President of the Swiss Confederation, is also a member of the Swiss Socialist Party.