The ex-lover of Juan Carlos, the disgraced former king of Spain, has described his decision to transfer her 65 million euros as an “enormously generous gift”, dismissing claims of money-laundering.
Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein told the BBC that the 82-year-old royal gave her the money as “recognition of how much I meant to him”, and out of “gratitude for looking after him during his absolutely worst moments.” Ms Sayn-Wittgenstein, a 55-year-old businesswoman, became the King’s mistress in 2004.
A Swiss court has placed the transfer, which took place in 2012, under investigation for alleged money-laundering. Juan Carlos has not spoken publicly about the transfer but the Telegraph has seen a document from the Geneva investigation in which he also claims it was a gift he had no intention of seeking back.
The former king wrote to his Swiss lawyer that the "donation agreed to by me in 2012 to Madame Corinna zu Sayn Wittgenstein was irrevocable”.
In the signed letter dated August 12, 2018, Juan Carlos adds that he has not received any part of the money in return, “and nor have I ever requested it”.
In her interview with the BBC, Ms zu Sayn-Wittgenstein said that in 2014 Juan Carlos had in fact demanded that she return the sum - but she put it down to him being angry that she did not wish to resume a relationship she said had ceased to be romantic in 2009.
“At some point he realised I wasn't going to return, and he went completely ballistic. He asked for everything back. I think it was just a tantrum he threw.”
Swiss prosecutor Yves Bertossa launched his investigation in the summer of 2018 after the publication in the Spanish media of tapes in which Ms zu Sayn-Wittgenstein describes how the former king had property registered under her ownership, before later asking her to hand it over to him.
Juan Carlos, who abdicated in 2014, left Spain because of the scandal earlier this month and is currently residing in Abu Dhabi.