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Spain’s former king Juan Carlos resumes UK court battle against ex-lover

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Spain’s embattled former king Juan Carlos is locked in a bitter UK court battle with his ex-lover which resumes today, after she claimed that he spied on her and harassed her when their relationship ended.

Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, 57, is seeking personal injury damages from Juan Carlos, 84, who ruled Spain from 1975 until his abdication in 2014 and now lives in the UAE. 

Juan Carlos, who is married, is claimed in court submissions to have been in an ‘intimate romantic relationship’ with the divorcee from 2004 to 2009 and showered her with gifts.

The 57-year-old filed a harassment suit in London in 2020 and alleges that Juan Carlos pressured her to return gifts worth 65 million euros (£56 million). These included works of art and jewellery.

After their relationship broke down, she alleged that Juan Carlos began to harass her using threats, break-ins at her properties and surveillance. 

Corinna also alleged to have suffered trespass and criminal damage at her home in rural central England.   

Gunshots were fired at and damaged security cameras at the front gate of the property, she alleged, accusing the former king of being angry at her refusals.

The former monarch has vehemently denied any wrongdoing against Corinna.

Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, 57, is seeking personal injury damages from Juan Carlos, 84, who ruled Spain from 1975 until his abdication in 2014 and now lives in the UAE. Pictured: Corinna with her former lover in 2006 in Germany 

Juan Carlos, who is married, is claimed in court submissions to have been in an 'intimate romantic relationship' with the divorcee, pictured, from 2004 to 2009 and showered her with gifts

Juan Carlos, who is married, is claimed in court submissions to have been in an ‘intimate romantic relationship’ with the divorcee, pictured, from 2004 to 2009 and showered her with gifts

Juan Carlos is listed in court under his full name Juan Carlos Alfonso Victor Maria De Borbon y Borbon and has not appeared at hearings so far.

In March, the High Court in London rejected Juan Carlos’s claim that English courts had no jurisdiction to hear the case because he has state immunity as a royal. 

Judge Matthew Nicklin said that ‘whatever special status the defendant retained under the law and constitution of Spain, he was no longer a ‘sovereign’ or ‘head of state’ so as to entitle him to personal immunity’.

However, the 84-year-old former monarch’s lawyers appealed and won permission for a legal challenge concerning the period when Juan Carlos was on the throne.

The permission was granted by two Court of Appeal judges in July. Three appeal judges, Lady Justice King, Lady Justice Simler and Lord Justice Popplewell, are due to consider detailed arguments at a Court of Appeal hearing today.

Lawyers representing Ms zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn have argued that the former king’s appeal bid should be dismissed.

A ruling is expected in a few weeks and the harassment lawsuit will then continue. 

The former King, pictured, is listed in court under his full name Juan Carlos Alfonso Victor Maria De Borbon y Borbon and has not appeared at hearings so far. The former monarch has vehemently denied any wrongdoing

The former King, pictured, is listed in court under his full name Juan Carlos Alfonso Victor Maria De Borbon y Borbon and has not appeared at hearings so far. The former monarch has vehemently denied any wrongdoing

Corinna’s relationship with her ex-lover became known in 2012, when Juan Carlos broke a hip while on holiday with Corinna in Botswana and had to be flown home.

He sparked public anger amid a period of record unemployment in Spain. 

Due to a series of scandals and health problems, he abdicated two years later and his son Felipe VI became King. Felipe VI has now distanced himself from his father. 

The pair attended the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in September and were seated together.

The former monarch went into self-imposed exile in the UAE in 2020. 

Juan Carlos was hugely popular and protected for decades by his huge popularity as a key figure in the democratic transition after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

The excesses of the monarch only came to light in the last years of his reign, triggering a string of investigations over corruption scandals.

The High Court in London rejected Juan Carlos's claim in March that English courts had no jurisdiction to hear the case because he has state immunity as a royal. Pictured: Corinna

The High Court in London rejected Juan Carlos’s claim in March that English courts had no jurisdiction to hear the case because he has state immunity as a royal. Pictured: Corinna 

The court battle has resumed just a day after it came to light that Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn had discussed the relationship in a recent podcast called ‘Corinna and the King’.

She claimed that the disgraced Spanish King received ‘bags full of cash’ from unnamed ‘friends’. 

Corinna and the King delves into the start of her relationship with the former monarch and how it eventually played a key part in Juan Carlos’ abdication in 2014.

In the podcast’s second episode, Corinna discusses the allegations of corruption her former lover faced before he abdicated in 2014, which saw him go into exile in Abu Dhabi.

The 57-year-old, pictured, filed a harassment suit in London in 2020 and alleges that Juan Carlos pressured her to return gifts worth 65 million euros (£56 million). These included works of art and jewellery. After their relationship broke down, she alleged that Juan Carlos began to harass her using threats, break-ins at her properties and surveillance

The 57-year-old, pictured, filed a harassment suit in London in 2020 and alleges that Juan Carlos pressured her to return gifts worth 65 million euros (£56 million). These included works of art and jewellery. After their relationship broke down, she alleged that Juan Carlos began to harass her using threats, break-ins at her properties and surveillance

She said she would regularly see Juan Carlos coming back from trips with cash and that the disgraced king would brush off her questions if she asked where the money came from. 

Launching this week, the series, which has been created by journalist Bradley Hope, coincides with Corinna’s High Court case against Juan Carlos for alleged harassment and spying.

Corinna also labelled the former King of Spain ‘unhinged’ in the first episode of the podcast, and claimed he used to call her 10 times a day at her office using a fake name.

The ex-mistress of the former Spanish King has made explosive allegations in the podcast released this week (pictured in 2014 in New York)

The ex-mistress of the former Spanish King has made explosive allegations in the podcast released this week (pictured in 2014 in New York) 

Speaking in the second episode of the podcast, which was released yesterday, the business woman recounted the ‘unusual’ things she saw happen while she and Juan Carlos were having their affair. 

‘He would call someone up who had a great château of Bordeaux wines and say, ‘I really love these wines, and could you send me some?’ And the next thing you’d know, 20 cases of this priceless wine would arrive,’ she claimed. 

‘I’d see him come back from trips and he’d be happy as a five-year-old. And there’d be bags full of cash, and you go, ‘Oh my God, what’s that, and it’s like, ‘Oh this is from my friend so and so, and this is from my friend so and so’. It seemed to me like a very habitual situation,’ she added. 

The ex-mistress added that the former King presided over a ‘Court of Miracles’ – a term referring to underground dealings made by beggars, migrants and thieves in Medieval France. 

She added that the disgraced king would brush her questions off when she asked where the money came from, telling her she didn’t understand Spain.  

Corinna Larsen, 57, is pursuing a High Court case against her former lover Juan Carlos, 84, for alleged harassment and spying. The mother-of-two pictured arriving at a court hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice on March 29, 2022

Corinna Larsen, 57, is pursuing a High Court case against her former lover Juan Carlos, 84, for alleged harassment and spying. The mother-of-two pictured arriving at a court hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice on March 29, 2022

Corinna described her ex-lover as 'ruthless and unhinged' after he allegedly spied on and harassed her into returning the €65 million he had transferred into her bank account in 2012

Corinna described her ex-lover as ‘ruthless and unhinged’ after he allegedly spied on and harassed her into returning the €65 million he had transferred into her bank account in 2012

Also speaking on the podcast, David Jiménez, the former editor-in-chief of the Spanish daily El Mundo, claimed that most of the Spanish media knew about the former monarch’s financial dealings and affairs but that he was untouchable. 

In the first instalment of the podcast, the Danish businesswoman said that she felt ‘married’ to Juan Carlos, 84, during their relationship and described him as the ‘husband of [her] heart’, The Times reported last week.

Describing him as ‘funny and quite persistent’ albeit in an amusing way, she labelled him, ‘one of the biggest seducers in the royal world’. 

In the podcast she explains her feeling that she was more a wife than a mistress, even after discovering that he had had multiple affairs. 

Corinna and Juan Carlos were lovers for five years and she described how she felt 'married' to him in this time. The Spanish King pictured greeting his lover at the Laureus Awards in Barcelona on May 22, 2006

Corinna and Juan Carlos were lovers for five years and she described how she felt ‘married’ to him in this time. The Spanish King pictured greeting his lover at the Laureus Awards in Barcelona on May 22, 2006

Corinna explained that she first met the then-King at the Duke of Westminster’s estate La Garganta in southern Spain when they both attended a hunting party.

That evening, the mother-of-two – who was married but separated from her second husband Prince Casimir zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn at the time – says she made an impression on the King by breaking royal protocol and leaving the table before he was finished eating. 

Her boldness obviously impressed the King because after the countryside getaway ended, Corinna claims the King started sending her flowers and love letters every day.

The following year, the businesswoman separated from her husband and she says the affair with the King only became more intense as the years went on.

Using the fake name ‘Mr Sumer’, Corinna claims Juan Carlos would call her ’10 times a day’ at her office in Madrid.

The former monarch had chosen the pseudonym as ‘Sumer’ is an acronym of  ‘Su Majestad el Rey’, which translates as His Majesty the King. 

Although Corinna tried to pass it off as a business call, she said colleagues could see through the pretence because they recognised the King’s ‘booming and distinctive’ voice.

Although Corinna, pictured, tried to pass it off as a business call, she said colleagues could see through the pretense because they recognised the King's 'booming and distinctive' voice

Although Corinna, pictured, tried to pass it off as a business call, she said colleagues could see through the pretense because they recognised the King’s ‘booming and distinctive’ voice

Corinna’s new podcast series will also cover her involvement in Juan Carlos’ money-laundering investigation in Switzerland and Spain.

Following their break-up, Corinna claims the former monarch harassed her into returning €65 million [£56m] that he had transferred into her bank account in 2012.

This sum was a key aspect of the corruption case brought against the ex-King, which led to him fleeing to Abu Dhabi in 2020.  

He fled after Swiss prosecutors opened an investigation into bank accounts allegedly held by Juan Carlos in tax havens.

Spain launched its own investigations based in part on information shared by Switzerland including one about cash the former king allegedly received as part of his involvement in a high-speed Saudi Arabia rail contract. 

Aside from a brief visit to Spain earlier this year to attend a sailing regatta in Galicia, when his son King Felipe refused to allow him to stay at the royal palace, he has stayed away. 

The King who ‘bedded 5,000 women’: From trying to woo Princess Diana to being ‘injected with testosterone blockers’ to control his sex drive – the VERY colourful love life of Spain’s greatest seducer 

Juan Carlos was 'injected with female hormones to control his rampant sex drive', an ex-police chief sensationally claimed earlier this year. The former King of Spain pictured arriving in Santiago in 2018

Juan Carlos was ‘injected with female hormones to control his rampant sex drive’, an ex-police chief sensationally claimed earlier this year. The former King of Spain pictured arriving in Santiago in 2018

He was the King of Spain from 1975 until his controversial abdication in 2014 – and during that time, Juan Carlos is rumoured to have ‘bedded over 5,000 women’.

In October, an ex-police chief sensationally claimed in a parliamentary hearing that the exiled former Spanish king Juan Carlos was ‘injected with female hormones to control his rampant sex drive’.

Jose Manuel Villarejo also said the disgraced former monarch, now living at a luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi, was given testosterone blockers by the Spanish secret service after his libido was categorised as a ‘state problem.’

Villarejo, a former Spanish Police commissioner currently on trial in a blackmail case, said, according to The Times: ‘[The National Intelligence Centre (CNI)] injected female hormones and testosterone blockers to control his libido because it was considered a problem of state that he was so horny.’

Danish-German philanthropist Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, Spanish singer Sara Montiel, Belgian governess Liliane Sartiau and Italian princess Maria Gabriela de Saboya are just some of the women he is rumoured to have bedded besides his wife, Queen Sofia.

News of the disgraced former king’s legendary libido are not new, however. It comes after a Spanish author and military historian Amadeo Martinez Ingles wrote a book entitled ‘Juan Carlos: The King Of 5,000 Lovers’, piecing together evidence of his sexual history and painting the king as a rampant sex addict.

Spanish royal family expert Pilar Eyre said the former King attempted to bed Princess Diana, claiming Juan Carlos made a ‘tactile’ advance to Diana when she was just 25

Princess Diana is rumoured to have been just one of the young ladies the ex-king pursued in a romantic career in which — like his namesake, the seducer Don Juan — he is said to have bedded almost 5,000 women.

Villarejo, who has been accused of spying on and working to discredit some of Spain’s most high-profile politicians as a key figure in the nation’s ‘sewer politics’, also insisted he was asked to get rid of medical documents which would have proved the medication went on.

He denied having any involvement in the effort to bring Juan Carlos’ notorious sex drive under control and said he found out about it from Corinna Larsen, a former lover of the ex-monarch now living in London.

Larsen, also known as Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, 57, had an affair with the 84-year-old monarch – who is married to Queen Sofia, 84 – between 2004 and 2009.

One of Juan Carlos’ early sexual encounters is said to be with Maria Gabriela de Saboya, daughter of the last king of Italy (pictured 1966)

One of Juan Carlos’ early sexual encounters is said to be with Maria Gabriela de Saboya, daughter of the last king of Italy (pictured 1966)

In his explosive book published in 2016 called ‘Juan Carlos: The King of 5,000 lovers’, author Martinez Ingles dubbed the ex-king a sex addict and said he had hundreds of relationships even after marriage to his wife Queen Sofia in 1962.

The book claimed he had had 62 lovers in one six-month period alone, and during his ‘passionate period’ between 1976 and 1994, the king had slept with a staggering 2,154 women.

Spanish royal family expert Pilar Eyre has corroborated Martinez Ingles’ claim that the former King attempted to bed Princess Diana, saying said Juan Carlos made a ‘tactile’ advance to Diana when she was just 25.

Diana herself denied anything untoward had happened but admitted that while the libidinous king was ‘charming’ he could be a ‘little too attentive.’

One of Juan Carlos’ early sexual encounters is said to be with Maria Gabriela de Saboya, daughter of the last king of Italy.

Later, Juan Carlos, who was crowned king in 1975, allegedly became estranged from his wife after the queen found him in a compromising position with Spanish actress and singer, Sara Montiel.

It is rumoured that Queen Sofia caught him in the act with Montiel just weeks after their coronation, but she denied any affair.

An explosive book published in 2016 called 'Juan Carlos: The King of 5,000 lovers', dubbed the ex-king a sex addict, claiming he had hundreds of relationships even after marriage to wife Queen Sofia in 1962 (pictured together in 1994)

An explosive book published in 2016 called ‘Juan Carlos: The King of 5,000 lovers’, dubbed the ex-king a sex addict, claiming he had hundreds of relationships even after marriage to wife Queen Sofia in 1962 (pictured together in 1994) 

In January 2017 it was claimed spymasters paid a former Miss World contestant millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to stop her spilling the beans on her supposed affair with Juan Carlos when he was still King of Spain.

Former beauty queen-turned-actress Barbara Rey reportedly had the cash paid into an offshore account to make sure she kept quiet about her long-standing romance with the ex-monarch.

A Belgian housewife has also claimed to be the daughter of Juan Carlos, alleging that the former King had an affair with her mother, governess Liliane Sartiau.

In 2015, her daughter Ingrid brought a paternity suit to the Spanish courts. But the writ was thrown out on the basis of the king’s ‘legal inviolability’ under Spanish law.

Spanish waiter Albert Sola also claimed around the same time as Ingrid that he was an illegitimate son of Juan Carlos – but his attempts to be recognised failed early on.

 

King Juan Carlos I, 84, was pictured arriving at the 'reception of the century' at Buckingham Palace with Queen Sofía amid an alleged row with the Spanish government over his attendance at Her late Majesty's state funeral

King Juan Carlos I, 84, was pictured arriving at the ‘reception of the century’ at Buckingham Palace with Queen Sofía amid an alleged row with the Spanish government over his attendance at Her late Majesty’s state funeral

King Juan Carlos I, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, was invited to the late monarch's funeral by Buckingham Palace, but the Spanish government reportedly asked him not to attend. The late Queen and disgraced King pictured watching a flamenco dance display at the Alcazar Palace during an official tour of Spain in 1998

King Juan Carlos I, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, was invited to the late monarch’s funeral by Buckingham Palace, but the Spanish government reportedly asked him not to attend. The late Queen and disgraced King pictured watching a flamenco dance display at the Alcazar Palace during an official tour of Spain in 1998

But all charges against him were dropped in the last year because of a lack of evidence, immunity he experienced as head of state and the statute of limitations expiring. 

The decision was taken after he paid millions of pounds in tax regularisations. 

Commenting on the money-laundering claims, Corinna said: ‘It became clearer and clearer to me [that] he was conducting not just a double life, he was conducting a quintuple life.

‘There’s something quite unhinged about him and something quite ruthless. It’s all about self-preservation. Imagine that someone who says you were the love of their life would frame you in a criminal investigation.’

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