Spain’s former king Juan Carlos gave his former mistress close to €1.75 million to set up an exclusive love nest home in a picturesque Swiss resort, it has been reported.
It is the latest in a string of controversies surrounding Juan Carlos, who last week saw his palace salary cut off by his son after The Daily Telegraph revealed the existence of secret offshore funds.
According to Spanish newspaper El País, citing information shown to a Spanish judge by a Swiss prosecutor, a fund based in Panama set up by Juan Carlos ordered transfers to companies and accounts under the name of Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, his former mistress, to pay for their apartment in the ski resort of Villars-sur-Ollon.
Ms Sayn-Wittgenstein said in a taped conversation that the initial payment of €1.24 million, made in May 2009 from the Panama-based Lucum Foundation to Swiss bank account, was a loan that she later repaid.
That taped conversation is a key part of an investigation being carried out by a judge at Spain’s National Court, and was shared as part of the cooperation with Swiss Prosecutor Yves Bertossa.
In 2018 Mr Bertossa began investigating Ms Sayn-Wittgenstein and the former king’s financial and legal associates in connection with alleged kickbacks on a high-speed rail deal won by a Spanish consortium in Saudi Arabia.
Juan Carlos, who abdicated in favour of his son King Felipe in 2014, was revealed by The Telegraph to have created the Lucum Foundation in 2008 thanks to a €65 million donation from Saudi Arabian King Abdullah, while Felipe was named as second beneficiary.
In June 2012, Lucum closed its Swiss bank account “due to new Swiss tax legislation”, and Juan Carlos signed an order to transfer the account balance of €65 million to Ms Sayn-Wittgenstein via a company based in the Bahamas.
According to the court papers seen by El País, Ms zu Sayn-Wittgenstein has since spent £4 million on an apartment in Eaton Square, London, and a further £6 million on a house in the English countryside.
Three years ago, Ms Sayn-Wittgenstein transferred $42 million to an account at Fieldpoint Private Bank in the US.
Robin Rathmell, lawyer for Ms Sayn-Wittgenstein, said on Tuesday that the manner in which his client “chooses to allocate her capital, including the unsolicited gift she received in 2012, is her private business”.
“The attempts to discredit her will ultimately fail,” he added.