Juan Carlos blackmail plot inquiry

Spanish inquisition: Financiers accused of trying to force king's abdication to evade KIO fraud trial

ELIZABETH NASH

Madrid

Spain's attorney-general, Carlos Granados, yesterday ordered an urgent investigation into allegations that the disgraced Catalan financier, Javier de la Rosa, president of the collapsed Spanish branch of the Kuwait Investment Office, and the former Banesto supremo, Mario Conde, had tried to blackmail King Juan Carlos in an effort to escape possible long prison terms for criminal fraud.

An eight-page report in yesterday's Diario 16 newspaper alleges that Mr de la Rosa and Mr Conde, who were released from prison on bail earlier this year, plotted to use their fortunes to press the king to urge Spain's legal authorities to drop criminal proceedings against them.

"If the monarch did not bend to their wishes," the report says, "de la Rosa and Conde ... threatened to use part of their immense fortunes to force the king to abdicate under pressure of numerous alleged scandals."

On 18 March, the report said, the king was on the point of alerting the attorney-general to threats by Mr de la Rosa and Mr Conde to reveal damaging information about the crown. It quotes Mr de la Rosa as saying: "The king must abdicate. He's put me in jail and it's going to cost him the crown. With the money I've given to the crown all these years ... ", and later quotes Mr de la Rosa as warning the royal household in a telephone call: "I'm going to reveal the name of Don Juan Carlos as one of the principal beneficiaries of KIO money during the Gulf war." The king was reportedly dissuaded from taking action by his close friend, the businessman Manuel de Prado y Colon de Carvajal.

Mr de la Rosa told Spanish radio on Thursday night that he had transferred $100m (pounds 63m) to Swiss bank accounts controlled by Mr Prado from the accounts of the Torras group, KIO's Spanish subsidiary. The payment was made at the request of the Kuwaitis in appreciation for Mr Prado's help in mobilising Spanish support for Kuwait during the Gulf war.

Mr de la Rosa said his lawyers had given evidence to this effect to a commercial court in London that is pursuing him in connection with Torras's missing millions. The aim, Mr de la Rosa said, was to make clear that he had not kept the money for himself. Mr Prado, long a business associate of Mr de la Rosa and formerly a vice-president of the now-defunct Gran Tibidabo company, denies receiving money from KIO-Torras, but says that he was pressured to get lawsuits in London and Madrid withdrawn.

Mr Conde said yesterday the allegations were false and that in conversations with Mr de la Rosa he had always stressed his loyalty to the Spanish crown.

Before the Gulf war, and the emergence of massive losses on its Spanish portfolio, the KIO was one of the largest investors in the UK stock market.At one time it held stakes in a number of large companies, including Midland Bank and a22 per cent holding in British Petroleum bought in 1988.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
fashion
News
news... you won't believe how bad their skills were
News
people

Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright and Mark Wright
tvStrictly goes head-to-head with Apprentice
Sport
footballPremier League preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's clashes
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Carlton Senior Appointments: Private Banking Manager - Intl Bank - Los Angeles

$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer – Office...

Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advisor – Ind Advisory Firm

$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Finance Manager

Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Sheridan Maine: Regulatory Reporting Accountant

Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas