In a surprise statement issued by the Zarzuela royal palace Sunday, it was revealed that Spain’s head of State, King Felipe VI, has decided to renounce any inheritance from his father, former King Juan Carlos, and to cut the former monarch’s annual allowance of nearly 200,000 euros from the budget of the royal household after learning that Juan Carlos accepted an unexplained deposit of some 88 million euros in 2008 from the late-King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia into an offshore account that has Felipe named as beneficiary.
The announcement made clear the current king was renouncing any inheritance payments that he may have been eligible to receive from his father, in a clear effort to completely disassociate himself from any business or financial transactions involving the former king.
At the same time, the palace said that Felipe was striking the former king’s 194,232 euro annual allowance from the monarchy’s budget in a move that mirrors Felipe’s 2015 decision to distance the monarchy from his sister Cristina, removing her title and allowance as Duchess of Palma de Mallorca amid a corruption scandal that eventually sent Cristina’s husband to prison.
Rumours of the donation from the late Saudi king had been circulating in Spain for weeks, part of a growing scandal in which Juan Carlos’ Danish-born 56-year-old former mistress, Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, has filed suit in a London court alleging that the former Spanish king and his associates have threatened her not to testify in investigations by financial authorities in Switzerland into the origin of monies in Juan Carlos’ Swiss bank accounts.
At the weekend, a British newspaper published a story detailing the payment from the late Saudi monarch to Juan Carlos in 2008 and alleging that the current King Felipe is named as a beneficiary in an offshore fund that controls his father’s Swiss accounts.
The statement issued Sunday by the Zarzuela royal palace made the point that Felipe VI had mentioned in his acceptance speech upon acceding to the Spanish throne in 2014 that “the Crown must […] preserve its prestige and observe an integral, honest and transparent conduct”.
The statement said that in keeping with what amounted to the king’s pledge of transparency and honesty, Felipe wanted it “publicly known” that he was renouncing any “inheritance that may personally correspond to him, as well as 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 govern its institutional and private activity and that must inform the activity of the Crown”.
In recent weeks, congressional deputies of the leftwing Unidas Podemos coalition joined other regional parties in pushing for establishment of a special commission in the Spanish Congress to look into allegations of corruption and tax evasion on the part of Juan Carlos. Last week, the congressional legal services office issued its opinion on the matter, saying that Spain’s Constitution does not authorize Congress to carry out investigations of sitting or former heads of state in Spain, a position which has also been upheld in previous rulings by Spain’s Tribuna Constitucional court.
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