The turbulent life of Spain’s former king Juan Carlos I continues, following details that have emerged about a harassment claim lodged at the High Court in London by his former lover, Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, also known as Corinna Larsen.
The claim was issued in December 2020, but information has only just been released about the details involving the alleged behaviour of Juan Carlos during his relationship with Larsen and when the relationship ended in 2009.
It details accusations of surveillance and harassment, including a claim that the former monarch verbally threatened the German-Danish businesswoman, and that a member of Spain’s security services also threatened her physical safety and that of her two children at her homes in London and Monaco.
Lawyers representing Larsen have requested that the court issue an injunction against Juan Carlos and his associates, to prevent them from communicating with her or to follow her movements.
The court has also been asked for a court order from an English judge, preventing defamatory remarks being made by Juan Carlos against her.
The background to the claim stems from when Juan Carlos met Larsen in Africa in 2004, when she was involved in organising safaris. The relationship developed romantically, and they remained lovers until 2009, remaining close friends for a while afterwards.
Their relationship only became public after an incident in Botswana in 2012, when Juan Carlos broke a hip in an elephant-hunting trip with Larsen. A Saudi entrepreneur paid for the king to be flown back to Spain when revelations about his trip and relationship were revealed in the public domain.
Along with subsequent allegations of money laundering, the incident and relationship eventually led to his abdication in 2014.
The recent claim in London’s High Court states that 64.8 million euros was given by Juan Carlos to his former lover in 2012, but he later demanded that the money was returned. Larsen refused the request and alleges that Juan Carlos accused her of stealing and made other defamatory remarks about her at the time and subsequently.
The significant sum of money had been given to Juan Carlos by the former king of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz in 2008, when it was transferred to a secret bank account in Switzerland in the name of the Lucum Foundation, an entity based in Panama that has Juan Carlos named as a beneficiary.
In recent years, investigators in Switzerland have been investigating the transactions as part of alleged money laundering activities.
The Spanish Supreme Court is looking into the financial history of Juan Carlos, who left Spain for self-imposed exile in the United Arab Emirates last August, saying at the time that he did not want his personal affairs to undermine the reign of his son king Felipe VI. This followed the claims of corruption and subsequent pressure put on Felipe VI to take this action by Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez.
According to The Times newspaper, Juan Carlos has been living in a luxury hotel owned by the emirate’s ruling family but has stated recently that he is bored in exile and wishes to return to Spain. A source of the newspaper stated that he was ‘feeling alone, old and bored’ in Abu Dhabi.
The revelations about the recent claim presented at London’s High Court again places Juan Carlos in the media spotlight. Felipe VI announced last year that he would renounce any inheritance form his father and removed his annual payment from the Royal Household, in a move that aimed to distance the Spanish Royal Family from the disgraced former king.
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