July 13, 2024

Spain’s ex-king asks London court to dismiss £126 mn damages claim

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Lawyers for Spain’s ex-king Juan Carlos I on Tuesday asked a court in London to throw out a claim for damages of over £126 million by a former lover.

Danish businesswoman Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, who is in her late 50s and lives in England, has sued Juan Carlos, 85, who abdicated in 2014, and wants damages for personal injury.

She alleges that he caused her “great mental pain” by spying on and harassing her.

Juan Carlos, who is married, was in an “intimate romantic relationship” with the divorcee from 2004 to 2009 and showered her with gifts, according to previous court submissions.

Adam Wolanski, lawyer for the former monarch, told the High Court in London that zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn wanted “damages in excess of £126 million”.

He said Juan Carlos “emphatically denies ever having harassed the claimant” and that the case had “no realistic” prospect of success as the evidence “simply does not disclose a viable case”.

Lawyers for his ex-lover, however, called the “strike out” application “misconceived” and said it should be refused.

“The defendant (Juan Carlos) continues to make every effort to prevent the court from determining this claim,” lawyer Jonathan Caplan, for zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn told the judge in a written case outline.

“The suggestion made on behalf of the defendant that the claim is somehow abusive in that it is by itself designed to harass a vulnerable elderly statesman is both unfounded and bold.”

Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn earlier alleged that Juan Carlos began harassing her after their relationship broke down, using threats, break-ins at her properties and surveillance.

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

The couple’s relationship became known in 2012, when the monarch broke a hip while on holiday in Botswana with Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn and had to be flown home, sparking public anger during a period of record unemployment in Spain.

Two years later, dogged by the scandals and health problems, Juan Carlos abdicated at the age of 76 in favor of his son Felipe VI, who has now publicly distanced himself from his father.

Juan Carlos went into self-imposed exile in the United Arab Emirates in 2020.

Three appeal judges in London in December ruled his ex-lover could not sue him for harassment in the English courts for the period while he was on the throne.

This left open the possibility that she could pursue him for his alleged behavior after that time.

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©️ Agence France-Presse

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