Investigator Bertossa accuses Yves Mirabaud of not informing the anti-money laundering body of the Saudi donation
Yves Bertossa, the Swiss prosecutor investigating the donation of 65 million 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 ( prevenus in its French name) to Yves Mirabaud, president of the Mirabaud & Cie bank, in which on August 8, 2008 they received the 100 million dollars (65 million euros at change of the time), according to the sources of the case and confirmed by the entity.
Yves Mirabaud is under investigation for allegedly failing 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 relay point 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 focusing on his alleged lack of diligence in receiving and handling the 65 million that He transferred the Ministry of Finance of Saudi Arabia 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 the statutes of Lucum.
As soon as the case began, the Swiss prosecutor informed those responsible for Mirabaud & Cie that the bank as a legal entity appeared as an under investigation 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). The bank president is added to the list 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. His statements, which advanced this newspaper, which concludes or the compliance department (compliance, in English) of the entity that oversees the reputation of the institution and consider the PEP clients (stands for “politically exposed persons ”), Not even the legal department knew that Juan Carlos I was their client.
The form of the Lucum foundation associated with the account of the then head of the state was kept in a safe and only six members of the so – called Council of Associates knew that the ultimate beneficiary of the Panama Foundation was Juan Carlos I . In his statement to the Swiss prosecutor, Yves Mirabaud explained this secrecy as follows: “The only reason why it was decided to maintain the confidentiality within the bank of the name of that beneficiary was the following: it was a matter of avoiding too wide a dispersion between 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 recall that we have asked legal advisers for information to find out if his status as king in Spain allowed him to receive these funds,” Mirabaud replied.
“Were there clients that the compliance department and the legal department did not know about?” Asked the 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 passed away several decades ago.
Mirabaud acknowledged that he, as a member of the bank’s executive committee, chaired the bank’s former anti-money laundering committee from 2003 to 2013. The president stated that he did “verbally” inform the head of the compliance department about Lucum’s final beneficiary and added that to the extent that Juan Carlos I was a PEP, “it was the Associates Council that gave the go-ahead to this 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 be declared to the Spanish Treasury. Neither 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 he participated in the discussions that led to the closure of the Lucum 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, Juan Carlos I’s account manager, “on three or five occasions” and that when his name appeared in the Spanish press linked to the Gürtel case they decided not to do without his 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 director of the Panamanian Lucum foundation, the Swiss banker assured that the former director of Mirabaud Antoine Boissier presented it to him and that he has seen him “a dozen times, perhaps more, in social gatherings.”