Everything we know about the NGO that has received 2.3 million from the fund linked to Juan Carlos I

JMR 2004 Trust is the mysterious financial instrument linked to Juan Carlos I and created in the tax haven of the island of Jersey, in the English Channel, which has received more than two million pounds (2,334,000 euros). The donation comes from a fund owned by the historian and former banker Joaquín Romero Maura who died in 2022 in a nursing home in Zaragoza, according to publications The country this Tuesday. The beneficiaries, the British Council Refugee (BCR), are a UK political refugee aid organisation.

The BCR directors have taken six months to decide whether to accept the donation of 16 million. The origin of this fortune linked to the father of Felipe VI has not been explained. The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office investigated this trust to determine if the money belonged to the emeritus king. Until 2004 and for almost a decade, the then King Juan Carlos I was the owner of the funds. The 2.3 million correspond to the first payment of Romero Maura’s legacy, which the trust administrators have sent to the managers of the British Council Refugee, whose headquarters are built in a simple three-story glass building in Stratford, east of London. , as published by the aforementioned newspaper. The organization will use these funds to help refugees and people seeking asylum.

Exbanquero and historian

The former banker and historian communicated in writing in 2005 his desire that after he and his wife died, all the money would be allocated to social care and especially to children. After his wife died, the man who received the fortune from the then head of state sold his house in Switzerland and retired to a town in Périgord, southwest of France. An illness forced him to enter the Ballesol residence in Zaragoza where he died after receiving the care and company of his two brothers who lived in that city. Until his death, Romero Maura kept one of the most compromised secrets of the previous head of state: the creation in 2004 in a law office at 50 La Colombière Street, in the capital of Jersey, of a trust with his initials and 14,923,604 euros whose origin remains unclear.

Romero Maura was 81 years old when he died. He was a professor of History at Oxford University and had no children. In his will he left the 10 million from the trust and all his assets: an account in Switzerland and two houses in the United Kingdom (London) and in France (Périgord) with their parking spaces, valued at another five million pounds (5,844. 000 euros), as recognized by the organization and confirmed by a family member of the donor.

The administrators will send an amount each year to the NGO as stipulated in his will by the donor, a former trusted man of the king emeritus. Previously, the fortune passed through ten other banks, all in tax havens, and their compliance departments carried out internal investigations without being able to determine the origin of the money. In all cases there were suspicions about the origin of the money and the reputational risk it posed was put at risk.

Part of the funds come from the liquidation of two other trusts created in 1995 and 1997 by Manuel Prado and Colón de Carvajal, close friend of the king. In both financial instruments, the then head of state was the sole beneficiary of the money. And this fortune came from a company based in the British Virgin Islands, according to bank documentation. Donations from unidentified people who supported Juan Carlos I between the 1950s and 1970s went to this account. The most important contribution occurred in 1999 from Simeon of Bulgaria. He transferred nine million dollars (8,384,572 euros).

The prosecutors of the Supreme Court archived the investigation into these flows by not finding evidence linking The JRM 2004 Trust with Juan Carlos I, “neither in its management nor in the ability to dispose of the funds.” Since its constitution in 2004, the emeritus king was not its beneficiary, nor is there evidence that he has received any amount from its accounts.