Spanish King cuts scandal-hit father's allowance and gives up inheritance

Former King Juan Carlos received $100 million from Saudi King Abdullah, $65 million of which went to his former mistress.

In an unprecedented move, King Felipe VI of Spain has distanced himself from his tainted father and former King, Juan Carlos. On Sunday, the 52-year-old king stripped his predecessor of his palace allowance and renounced everything he inherited from him.

Scandal raging in the Spanish kingdom

A report published in Swiss daily Tribune de Geneve, stated that the former monarch had received $100 million in 2008 from Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, through an off-shore account. The money was lodged in a Swiss bank account in the name of a Panamanian foundation, AFP reported.

Out of the total amount, $65 million went to Juan Carlos' former mistress Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein. A part of the fund also went to the reigning king, Felipe VI, while Juan Carlos was the king.

Juan Carlos, former Spanish monarch
Juan Carlos, former Spanish monarch Wikimedia Commons

King Felipe VI's decision

In a palace statement on Sunday, the king renounced any assets, shares or investments that might be either illegal or compromise the royal family's integrity. Carlos has been stripped off his annual palace allowance of $216,000.

Political parties react

On Tuesday, the Spanish Parliament decided not to launch a probe into the suspected money laundering by the former monarch. The decision announced on Sunday was termed as unsatisfactory by left-wing parties.

Who is Juan Carlos?

The former monarch ascended to the throne in 1975, after the death of military dictator Francisco Franco, who ruled Spain from 1939 to 75. Carlos is widely hailed for supporting the transition to democracy. In 2014, his 39-year-long reign ended with his son's ascendancy to the Spanish throne. This is not the first time that the former monarch has been hit by a scandal. In 2012, he attracted widespread criticism for going elephant hunting in Botswana at the height of the country's recession.

However, he is not the only Spanish royal to have made headlines for the wrong reasons. In 2019, King Felipe's brother-in-law Inaki, the husband of Princess Cristina, was imprisoned for more than five years for siphoning millions of dollars from a foundation he ran on the island of Majorca.