27th October 2020
Barcelona City Council
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Barcelona City Council withdraws top honour from Juan Carlos I

Barcelona City Council has voted to withdraw the Gold Medal top honour that was awarded to Spain’s former king Juan Carlos I back in 1992, the year of the Olympics in Barcelona.

In an extraordinary session on Thursday, city councillors also voted to withdraw any other honour given to the ex-monarch – and registered a formal criticism of the Spanish government for its alleged role in helping to organise the departure of the former king from Spain.

Juan Carlos left Spain for Abu Dhabi in early August following on-going corruption allegations that include alleged payments from Saudi Arabia to a private bank account in Switzerland [see further details and links below].

However, only the Catalan pro-independence parties, Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) and Esquerra Republicana (ERC), voted in favour of withdrawing the award.

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau’s party, Barcelona en Comú abstained, while the Catalan Socialists (PSC), Barcelona pel Canvi, Ciudadanos (Cs) and the People’s Party (PP) voted against it.

Back in July, Colau had called the Spanish monarchy ‘corrupt’ and had called for a referendum to remove the monarchy and install a republic. Her Barcelona en Comú party is linked to the Podemos group, currently the coalition partner of the PSOE-led Spanish government.

The mayor said that they had abstained because the motion included officially condemning the Spanish government for collaborating in enabling former king Juan Carlos to leave Spain.

ALSO READ (23/8/20): Corinna tells BBC that Juan Carlos I must have ‘hundreds of accounts’ worldwide

Barcelona City Council
An image of the Barcelona City Council on 27 August 2020. (@bcn_ajuntament / Twitter)

Investigation into former king

Juan Carlos I is under investigation by the Supreme Court for allegedly receiving commissions in exchange for interceding that a Spanish consortium won a contract to build a high-speed train link to the city of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia.

While the Spanish Constitution states that a king cannot be judged by any means, Juan Carlos’ abdication in favour of his son, Felipe VI, in June 2014 apparently put an end to his immunity.

On 14 March, British newspaper The Telegraph published revelations that Felipe was named as a beneficiary for an offshore fund allegedly containing 65 million euros. The next day, the king relinquished his father’s legacy and withdrew his allocation from the royal family’s payroll.

Former King Juan Carlos I of Spain
Former King Juan Carlos I of Spain (Jaime Reina / AFP)

In May, media in Spain then reported that Juan Carlos I was given 1.7 million euros in cash by Bahrain’s sultan, Hamad bin Isa al Jalifa, in 2010.

ALSO READ (3 May 2020): Former Spanish king deposited $1.9m cash from Bahrain in Switzerland, claims report

In July, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said he was open to an amendment of the constitution to limit the legal immunity of public officials, including the king.

As the corruption-ridden legacy of king emeritus Juan Carlos I continues to haunt the Spanish monarchy, calls to strip the crown of its constitutional inviolability have grown louder.

Click here for all our reports on the Spanish Monarchy

ALSO READ (23/8/20): Corinna tells BBC that Juan Carlos I must have ‘hundreds of accounts’ worldwide

ALSO READ (17/8/20): Royal household finally confirms former king’s whereabouts

ALSO READ (12/8/20): Pedro Sánchez maintains silence on whereabouts of Juan Carlos I

ALSO READ (4/8/20): Political fallout as former king ‘fleeing justice’ puts Spanish monarchy in ‘very compromised’ position

ALSO READ (3/8/20): Juan Carlos I flees Spain amid on-going corruption scandal

ALSO READ (12/7/20): ‘There’s no room for impunity,’ says Pedro Sánchez – calling news of former king Juan Carlos I as ‘disturbing’

ALSO READ (8/6/20): Supreme Court prosecutor to investigate former king Juan Carlos I

ALSO READ (3/5/20): Former Spanish king deposited $1.9m cash from Bahrain in Switzerland, claims report

ALSO READ (17/3/20): Financial affairs of former king will not be investigated by Spanish Congress 

ALSO READ (8/3/20): Spain’s former king, his mistress, and the $100m Swiss bank account

ALSO READ (26/12/19): Felipe VI: Catalonia is a ‘serious concern’ for Spain

ALSO READ (4/11/19): Felipe VI visit to Barcelona sparks major protests

ALSO READ (25/10/19): Franco removed but ‘Francoism still very present’ argue many

ALSO READ (2/10/19): Court overturns Catalan Parliament resolution to investigate monarchy

ALSO READ (13/9/19): Anti-corruption investigators question ex-mistress of former king

ALSO READ (28/5/19): Former King Juan Carlos to retire from public life (at a bullfight)

ALSO READ (13/3/19): Madrid to take ‘monarchy investigation committee’ to court

ALSO READ (27/2/19): Felipe VI inflammable statue sparks art fair row

ALSO READ (24/2/19): Protests against Felipe VI before MWC inauguration

ALSO READ (20/2/19): Felipe VI: ‘democracy not above respecting the law’

ALSO READ (16/2/19): Spotlight: ‘When you attack Franco, you attack over half of Spain’

ALSO READ (26/11/18): Juan Carlos criticised for meeting Saudi crown prince

ALSO READ (26/10/18): Barcelona City Council: no to monarchy

ALSO READ (16/10/18): Spain’s elite shaken by ‘blackmailer’ cop, Villarejo

ALSO READ (21/8/18): Rapper Valtonyc extradition decision postponed

ALSO READ (17/8/18): Banners against Felipe VI appear in Barcelona

ALSO READ (13/8/18): Pro-independence groups to avoid remembrance event over king’s presence

ALSO READ (6/8/18): King’s attendance at remembrance sparks controversy

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