King Felipe VI net worth: Royal has rejected inheritance after alleged corruption

In March the Spanish royal family released a statement revealing the king would not take his inheritance. The statement stated the royal would be renouncing “any asset, investment or financial structure whose origin, characteristics or purpose may not be in accordance with the legality or with the criteria of rectitude and integrity that shape his institutional and private activity.”

In 2015 the Felipe cut the amount by 20 percent to around £216,000 a year.

King Felipe VI is married to Queen Letizia, who stepped out wearing a red dress in the country yesterday. 

The 47-year-old was joined by her husband on the day trip and the couple also had their two children in two, Leonor, Princess of Asturias, 14, and Infanta Sofía of Spain, 13.

The gown is the ‘Textured Midi Dress With Belt’ from Spanish designer Adolfo Dominguez.

Queen Letizia supported Infanta Sofia who was seen walking with a crutch.

The young royal’s knee was bandaged, prompting royal fans’ questions over how she got injured.

Someone else claimed that”she hurt it somehow and had 5 stitches. That is all I can find out.”

The family are currently staying at the Marivent Palace in Mallorca.



EU shame: Brussels and Berlin accused of SELLING OUT as row over corruption erupts

Berlin and Brussels both sold the European Union’s credibility “too cheaply” with their support for centre-right ally prime minister Bokyo Borissov, an opposition politician claimed. Hristo Ivanov, a former justice minister who now leads the anti-corruption Yes Bulgaria movement, said Mr Borissov’s abuses of power had been ignored because of his role in upholding the EU’s migration pact with Turkey. The multibillion-euro pact – brokered between EU countries and Ankara during the height of the bloc’s 2016 migration crisis – led to a huge drop in the number of people attempting to cross the Aegean Sea to Greece.

“It’s a very typical thing: an empire is at its point of eclipse when it allows its border policy to be handled by local warlords,” Mr Ivanov told Politico.

“The thing is that the unequivocal support of Germany and the European Commission for Borissov is selling the credibility and political capital of Europe and Germany too cheaply.

“They could have gained the same level of cooperation without being so unprincipled and without demoralising the Bulgarian public.”

He added: “We have a lot of experience of trying to draw the attention of the competent institutions to eurofund abuses, and they are extremely generous with Bulgaria.

“Somebody in Berlin is making a cynical calculus: a billion more or less, who cares? As long as you buy the good favours of Borissov and you keep him stable … who cares about some ‘tips?’”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are both members of the centre-right European People’s Party alongside Mr Borissov.

Mr Ivanov also questioned the EU’s role in European politics if the bloc’s officials could not uphold rule of law across its member states.

He said: “If the EU is unable to guarantee minimal standards of rule of law in a member state as weak as Bulgaria, what is it good for?”

He insisted Brussels has “wilfully closed its eyes to what is happening in Bulgaria”, adding: “This level of state capture in Bulgaria was only made possible by the easy drug of EU funds.”

Sofia has been rocked by weeks of anti-government protests amid anger over Mr Borissov’s management of the country.

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Mr Borissov’s political party, Gerb, has said there was “no tolerance for corruption in Ferb and the government”.

A spokesman added: “Prime minister Borissov has repeatedly declared that he will not protect anyone accused of corruption.”

Mr Ivanov helped launch the latest wave of protests with a stunt declaring a stretch of coastline allegedly illegally occupied by Bulgaria’s ethnic Turkey party, Ahmed Dogan, as his new headquarters.



Spain's monarchy: Boon or bane for the nation's economy?

In the eyes of Spanish university professor Francisco Javier Alvarez, King Emeritus Juan Carlos had turned into an ordinary impostor in the course of his reign by channeling money to tax havens. The renowned criminal law expert from Madrid’s Universidad Carlos III likens him to a petty criminal in the construction industry.

Alvarez believes that the former king like many other members of the Bourbon monarchy has done more damage than good to Spain’s economy through his “obscene behavior.”

Spanish prosecutors are currently investigating allegations claiming Juan Carlos was involved in corruption relating to a high-speed rail line between Mecca and Medina.

With his departure into exile, the former king has caused yet another scandal. An official press conference of the government didn’t provide any clues as to his current whereabouts and how he’s going to finance his life abroad. His son King Felipe VI had stripped him of his annual “salary” of €200,000 ($237,000) as early as May when the first allegations of bribery were corroborated.

Mecca-Metro

A Saudi man looks at a tent city as he sits on board the new fast commuter train Mashair (Mecca Metro)

Corruption and cronyism

Alvarez says that’s not where the story ends as Juan Carlos had accepted many payments and numerous presents from companies and governments that had not been accounted for properly.

On top of that there were several affairs with women and a fateful safari. Back in 2012 when Spain’s financial system was about to collapse, the king was seen and photographed in Botswana during a sponsored elephant hunt.

“It was the beginning of the end of an era in which corruption and nepotism were common in our country,” said Fernando Cocho Perez, a security expert and founder of tech consultancy H4dm.

In 2014, Juan Carlos abdicated — for health reasons as official statements claimed. “In reality, the monarch was no longer acceptable as head of state,” Perez said. Accounts had been found in Switzerland and a foundation in Panama with links to the royal family in Spain.

From economic ambassador to problem child

Renowned economist Juan Velarde Fuertes stands by the monarchy nonetheless — like many other conservatives in the country. The 93-year-old also worked for the Francisco Franco dictatorship when Juan Carlos was still in exile in Portugal. Many believe he’s back there now, while some media reports suggest he’s in the Dominican Republic staying as the guest of a wealthy family.

Despite all the scandals at hand, Fuertes thinks the Spanish monarchy has been good for the economy, all the more so since the monarchy only costs the state about €8 million a year. In the opinion of Fuertes, that’s relatively cheap if compared to other monarchies in Europe.

King Felipe VI

King Felipe VI has been trying hard to improve the tainted image of the Spanish royal family

But when Fuertes voiced that view in El Economista last year, it wasn’t known yet officially that the former king had not only been a womanizer, but also a recipient of numerous bribes. According to Perez, one who did know about it right from the start was Queen Letizia of Spain, who worked as a journalist before ascending the throne.

King Felipe VI is trying to be better than his father. Inaki Urdangarin — a corrupt brother-in-law, who was convicted of embezzlement — was excluded from the royal family in 2015. Now it appears, it’s Juan Carlos’ turn.

Felipe doesn’t have it easy, though. His wife isn’t popular among the subjects. The heiress to the throne, his almost 15-year-old daughter Leonor, can only ascend to the throne if the Spanish Constitution is amended and allows a woman to become head of state.

“It will certainly trigger a huge public debate about whether the monarchy really makes sense anymore, and it might not survive such a debate,” Perez predicted. To improve the image of the royal family, Felipe VI renounced the inheritance from his father in March of this year.

The Saudi deal

The thing is that the scandal surrounding the railroad line between Mecca and Medina will not be forgotten quickly. The line was billed as one of Spain’s largest signature projects. The deal was inked in 2011 between the Saudi royal family and 12 Spanish enterprises including rail company Renfe and train manufacturer Talgo.

“It’s not the only deal involving Spanish companies for which Juan Carlos had pocketed bribe money, said criminal law pundit Francisco Javier Alvarez.

The Spanish princesses Leonor (l.) and Sofia

The Spanish princesses Leonor (l.) and Sofia seen during a summer photo call at the Marivent Palace in Palma de Mallorca

The renewed talk about the unholy alliance between the Saudi and Spanish kings comes at an inopportune moment for state-owned Renfe. The company has been profitable for some years now and is hoping for lucrative contracts abroad. The Saudi undertaking, which became operational in 2018 boasting 35 trains and 60 million passengers a year, was meant to be Renfe’s showcase project.

Consultant Cocho Perez doubts whether Spain needs the monarchy to advance its economy. “Spanish blue chips such as Banco Santander or Telefonica want stability,” he said. “At these companies and in the rest of the nation, unwavering fans of the royal family are few and far between now.” In the opinion of Perez, Spain’s days of monarchy are numbered.

Palma-based German lawyer Tim Wirth believes, though, that Felipe VI has been good at stabilizing the country economically. “Particularly for Mallorca where the kings have their summer residences, Felipe is tremendously important,” Wirth said. “The island wouldn’t be so safe without him — and if it weren’t so safe, you wouldn’t see so many celebrities from all corners of the world buy property there.”

Wirth is convinced that without the royals again spending their vacation at Marivent Palace in Mallorca, the Balearic Islands wouldn’t attract so many ordinary tourists.



Spain’s former King Juan Carlos flees country after investigation launched into corruption

The announcement was made by the Spanish royal family in a statement released this afternoon.

In June, Spain’s Supreme Court opened an investigation into the former head of state’s involevment with a high-speed rail contract in Saudi Arabia.

More to follow…



Gianni Infantino FIFA investigation: The five big questions

The criminal investigation by Swiss prosecutors into FIFA president Gianni Infantino is the latest example of football’s world governing body being engulfed in claims of corruption.

Charges of “rampant, systemic, deep-rooted” corruption claimed the careers of several high-level officials in 2015, including former long-standing president Sepp Blatter. The man charged with restoring FIFA’s reputation whilst investigations were ongoing in the US and Switzerland was Infantino.

However, the man elected at the 2016 FIFA Extraordinary Congress and re-elected in June 2019, now finds himself the subject of a criminal investigation being led by Swiss federal prosecutor, Stefan Keller.

Why is FIFA president Gianni Infantino being investigated?

Keller announced on Thursday that there were “indications of criminal conduct” in undocumented meetings between Infantino and Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber, who will leave his post next month.

The three meetings, that are alleged to have taken place between 2015 and 2016, are significant as Lauber was, at the time, overseeing an investigation into the 2015 corruption scandal that led to criminal indictments against a number of FIFA officials.

Infantino insists those meetings were an above-board attempt to aid investigations.

“People remember well where FIFA was as an institution back in 2015, and how substantial judicial intervention was actually required to help restore the credibility of the organisation,” Infantino said in an official statement released by FIFA.

Sepp Blatter is questioned by reporters in Moscow (Getty Images/AFP/V. Maximov)

Infantino’s predecessor Sepp Blatter was forced out of office

“As President of FIFA, it has been my aim from day one, and it remains my aim, to assist the authorities with investigating past wrongdoings at FIFA.”

What is Infantino being accused of?

Infantino is being investigated on the grounds of “abuse of public office, breach of official secrecy, assisting offenders and incitement to break the law”.

This is not the first time Infantino has faced accusations like these, which first broke in 2017 due to emails uncovered by Football Leaks which documented three meetings in the space of 15 months. Infantino and Lauber both claim they can’t remember what took place during those encounters.

The latest probe is a result of anonymous criminal complaints that led to Keller being appointed as the federal prosecutor in July. Infantino has described the complaints as “quite absurd”.

Why does this matter?

FIFA are world football’s governing body, in charge of huge sums of money and the most-watched sporting event on the globe, the World Cup. Its reputation was tarnished in 2015 amid money laundering claims and questions regarding the legitimacy of awarding the 2018 and 2022 World Cup to Russia and Qatar respectively.

Even though they brought in Infantino to clean up their act, they are still struggling to get out from under the cloud of corruption cast over them by the end of Blatter’s reign.

Infantino is claiming to be the good guy by saying “there is nothing secret in meeting a prosecutor in a civilized country”, but the ongoing investigations are threatening to further discredit the transparency and trust in FIFA.

Why is Gianni Infantino still President of FIFA?

Because FIFA aren’t run like a normal company or governing body. It took years of serious allegations relating to criminal schemes, bribes and kickbacks before Sepp Blatter was even suspended as the governing body’s president.

Blatter claimed he could only be stripped of his title by a vote including all the member nations. Unprecedented times called for unprecedented measures though, and it was ultimately the FIFA ethics committee that banned Blatter from all football related activities for eight years.

While FIFA have released a statement of support for Infantino in the wake of the probe, there was no word as to whether action would be taken by the same committee this time around. Infantino, meanwhile, says he remains “fully supportive of the judicial process.”

What happens now?

While it has been noted that the pace of proceedings to bring charges against Infantino has been swifter than for his predecessor Blatter, it is unlikely that the case will go to criminal court or that there will be a conviction.

FIFA have insisted they are still willing to “fully cooperate” with the Swiss authorities on the matter, claiming that their cooperation in the past has led to “40 criminal convictions”. They will be hoping number 41 doesn’t involve their reigning president.

Infantino’s claims that FIFA’s days of corruption are behind them have been undermined by Keller’s criminal investigation against the FIFA president. The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is under no threat, but the waters at world football’s governing body are as murky as ever.

 



Spying corruption crime – China will stop at nothing to SMASH US role as No1 SUPERPOWER

Bureau director Christopher Wray called China’s government’s the “greatest long-term threat” to the future of the United States and said: “The stakes could not be higher – China is engaged in a whole-of-state effort to become the world’s only superpower by any means necessary.” He issued the warning while speaking to the Hudson Institute in Washington adding Beijing was engaged in an extensive economic espionage offensive which included data and monetary theft and unlawful political actions, employing bribery and blackmail to undermine the US.

He said: “We’ve now reached a point where the FBI is now opening a new China-related counter-intelligence case every 10 hours.

“Of the nearly 5,000 active counter-intelligence cases currently underway across the country, almost half are related to China.”

He said Chinese President Xi Jinping had initiated a scheme dubbed “Fox Hunt,” targeting Chinese citizens living abroad considered menaces to the Chinese government and added: “We’re talking about political rivals, dissidents, and critics seeking to expose China’s extensive human rights violations.

“The Chinese government wants to force them to return to China, and China’s tactics to accomplish that are shocking.

“When it couldn’t locate one Fox Hunt target, the Chinese government sent an emissary to visit the target’s family here in the United States.

“The message they said to pass on? The target had two options: return to China promptly, or commit suicide.”

Asked whether potential Chinese interference in the upcoming elections represented a threat to the FBI, Mr Wray said China’s “malign foreign influence campaign” was a year-round concern rather than “an election specific threat”.

However, China’s attempts to influence US policy had “implications for elections, and they certainly have preferences that go along with that,” he said.

China has previously been accused of hacking into US government systems.

The purported infiltration of the Office of Personnel Management was one of the most notorious cases, as the hackers obtained sensitive data on around 20 million US federal government staff members.

The attack was part of far-reaching efforts by China to “identify people for secret intelligence gathering,” Mr Wray said.

The hack also indicated there are possible cybersecurity concerns as the 2020 election approaches, said Nina Jankowicz, a former Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellow at the US State Department.

Ms Jankowicz is currently disinformation fellow at Washington-based think tank the Wilson Centre.

She said: “It would be difficult to hack all of the US voting systems at once, but you might not need to hack all of them at once. What you need to do is just cast doubt on to the vote tallying in one race.

“Once you have cast that doubt, then people aren’t going to trust in the results and we get into a very sticky situation as we’re trying to declare a winner.”

But according to Chinese officials, China has no intention to affect this year’s elections, following claims by US President Donald Trump that Beijing would do “anything they can” to frustrate his re-election.

Ms Jankowicz said: “We’ve made some sparing investments in our election infrastructure, but I think we need to do a lot more.

“Unfortunately that issue has been politicised, but hopefully we’ve gotten up to the point where those basic security loopholes are not exploited ahead of the vote in November.”



Spying corruption crime – China will stop at nothing to SMASH US role as No1 SUPERPOWER

Bureau director Christopher Wray called China’s government’s the “greatest long-term threat” to the future of the United States and said: “The stakes could not be higher – China is engaged in a whole-of-state effort to become the world’s only superpower by any means necessary.” He issued the warning while speaking to the Hudson Institute in Washington adding Beijing was engaged in an extensive economic espionage offensive which included data and monetary theft and unlawful political actions, employing bribery and blackmail to undermine the US.

He said: “We’ve now reached a point where the FBI is now opening a new China-related counter-intelligence case every 10 hours.

“Of the nearly 5,000 active counter-intelligence cases currently underway across the country, almost half are related to China.”

He said Chinese President Xi Jinping had initiated a scheme dubbed “Fox Hunt,” targeting Chinese citizens living abroad considered menaces to the Chinese government and added: “We’re talking about political rivals, dissidents, and critics seeking to expose China’s extensive human rights violations.

“The Chinese government wants to force them to return to China, and China’s tactics to accomplish that are shocking.

“When it couldn’t locate one Fox Hunt target, the Chinese government sent an emissary to visit the target’s family here in the United States.

“The message they said to pass on? The target had two options: return to China promptly, or commit suicide.”

Asked whether potential Chinese interference in the upcoming elections represented a threat to the FBI, Mr Wray said China’s “malign foreign influence campaign” was a year-round concern rather than “an election specific threat”.

However, China’s attempts to influence US policy had “implications for elections, and they certainly have preferences that go along with that,” he said.

China has previously been accused of hacking into US government systems.

The purported infiltration of the Office of Personnel Management was one of the most notorious cases, as the hackers obtained sensitive data on around 20 million US federal government staff members.

The attack was part of far-reaching efforts by China to “identify people for secret intelligence gathering,” Mr Wray said.

The hack also indicated there are possible cybersecurity concerns as the 2020 election approaches, said Nina Jankowicz, a former Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellow at the US State Department.

Ms Jankowicz is currently disinformation fellow at Washington-based think tank the Wilson Centre.

She said: “It would be difficult to hack all of the US voting systems at once, but you might not need to hack all of them at once. What you need to do is just cast doubt on to the vote tallying in one race.

“Once you have cast that doubt, then people aren’t going to trust in the results and we get into a very sticky situation as we’re trying to declare a winner.”

But according to Chinese officials, China has no intention to affect this year’s elections, following claims by US President Donald Trump that Beijing would do “anything they can” to frustrate his re-election.

Ms Jankowicz said: “We’ve made some sparing investments in our election infrastructure, but I think we need to do a lot more.

“Unfortunately that issue has been politicised, but hopefully we’ve gotten up to the point where those basic security loopholes are not exploited ahead of the vote in November.”