On Friday, 13 April 2012, King Juan Carlos of Spain took a fall while elephant-hunting in Botswana. A luxury safari like the King’s would cost nearly $60,000 (including $15,000 for the permit to kill an elephant) — twice the average annual salary in a country suffering with a depression.
Earlier Juan Carlos had been pictured standing proudly in front of a killed elephant, on another safari.
These Royals are such great preservers of nature!
It soon became public that the King’s hunting party included German “aristocrat” Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, some 27 years younger than Juan Carlos.
Sayn-Wittgenstein had flown with him on the plane of Mohamed Eyad Kayali, a Syrian-born Saudi deal-maker, who paid for the safari. Eyad Kayali was the “right-hand man” of Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Saudi defence minister who “fixed” the $9 billion deal for a consortium of Spanish companies to build the high-speed railway between Mecca and Medina. Shahpari Khashoggi, the third ex-wife of Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, “was the agent for the Spanish side on that”.
Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein said she had met the King in 2004 at a shooting party at the Duke of Westminster’s estate in England. Sayn-Wittgenstein’s relationship with the King apparently started when he asked her to arrange the May 2004 honeymoon trip of Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia (now King and Queen) to Jordan, Thailand, and Fiji.
In 2004 and 2005, Corinna put together 2 safaris in Mozambique for the King, and on the first was “by his side all the time”. According to an “insider”, since then she has been a regular guest on the partridge-shooting weekends Juan Carlos hosts every spring at his country estate, south of Madrid and “The King is still in love with her”.
The King refurbished the El Pardo palace compound for Corinna and visited her and her kids all the time. She accompanied the King on trips to foreign countries, including Germany, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates.
See Juan Carlos and Corinna Sayn-Wittgenstein at the Laureus Award in Barcelona, 2006.
In November 2011, the Spanish people learned that Inaki Urdangarín, husband of the Juan Carlos’ daughter Infanta Cristina, was under investigation for embezzling millions of Euros from his “non-profit” sports foundation, the Nóos Institute.
In 2003, Urdangarín had joined the consulting firm of Diego Torres that was reconstituted as a non-profit foundation and renamed the Nóos Institute. Urdangarín became president and Torres vice president, and they were joined on the five-member board by Cristina, her royal secretary Carlos García Revenga, and a relative of Torres’ wife.
Nóos has been accused for grossly over-billing the Valencia and Balearic Islands governments and diverting the excess money to tax havens in Belize, Luxembourg, and Andorra. Some of this public money went to “a real estate firm jointly operated by Mr. Urdangarín and his wife”.
By late 2004, Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, on the King’s request, looked for a new job for his son-in-law Urdangarín.
Diego Torres testified that Urdangarín never made a move without Palace approval, and that Princess Cristina was involved in running it. Torres submitted more than 200 e-mails to the court in support of his claims.
In 1956, Juan Carlos, then 18, shot and killed his 14-year-old brother, Alfonso. Reportedly in an accident: https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2013/1 ... abdication
Carlos’ wealth is estimated at 2 billion Euros.
In 2015, Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein (these days located in Monaco) claimed in a conversation with a former Spanish officer in London that “she was being drawn into money laundering” by Prince Juan Carlos I by buying multiple properties in Morocco and putting them on her name.
Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein has said that if she cooperates with the scheme involving the properties in her name:
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2018/0 ... legations/But if do it, it is money laundering.
They are putting me under tremendous pressure to return these things, but if I do it I am breaking the law I could go to jail.
On 17 February 2017, Spain’s King Felipe VI’s brother-in-law, Inaki Urdangarin, was sentenced to years in prison for fraud, by a regional court on Majorca.
In June, Spain’s Supreme Court upheld his prison sentence of 5 years and 10 months (5 months less than the verdict of the lower court).
This is the first time in modern history that a member of Spain’s royal family is sent to prison.
King Felipe’s sister, Princess Cristina (wife of Urdangarin), had earlier been stripped of her title Duchess of Palma by royal decree.
The lower court found Princess Cristina not guilty of criminal charges, but fined her about €265,000 ($312,000) for her involvement in the fraud. The Supreme Court cut that in half.
In 2011, an investigation was started into Urdangarin’s business activities, after huge cost overruns for the construction of a cycling track on Majorca. It was concluded that his “non-profit” foundation the Nóos Institute (with Princess Cristina on its board) and real estate company Aizoon (co-owned by Cristina and Inaki) had embezzled more than $7 million.
The Royal couple had been living in Geneva, Switzerland. Urdangarin still has a final chance to avoid or delay incarceration, by appealing to Spain’s Constitutional Court.
Fifteen other people besides Cristina and Inaki were indicted in the case as well.
Their main business partner Diego Torres was (also) accused of overcharging 2 regional governments (The Balearic Islands and Valencia) for sporting events organised by the Noos Institute.
The Supreme Court reduced Torres’ prison sentence by almost 3 years, to 5 years and 8 months. Torres was also fined €1,723,843.10.
The most prominent politician found guilty, former regional president of the Balearic Islands, Jaume Matas, was sentenced to 3 years and 8 months in prison.
This is only one of several political corruption scandals involving money embezzled by Spanish politicians.
Mariano Rajoy was ousted as PM after his party was convicted of operating a slush fund: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/12/worl ... -king.html
Inaki Urdangarin started his prison sentence more than a month ago: https://elpais.com/elpais/2018/06/18/in ... 57172.html