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Former Spanish king Juan Carlos I had one last roll of the dice with justice and it has given him an unexpected surprise. After Spanish and Swiss prosecutors had decided to end their pursuit of his opaque financial affairs, British justice has now ruled in favour of his former lover Corinna Larsen and refused the claim of the king emeritus that he is immune from being prosecuted for the case that she has filed, according to the France-Presse agency. It is a case that began in July last year. Larsen, also known as Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, filed a complaint with the High Court of Justice for England and Wales (EWHC) against Juan Carlos and the CNI - Spain's intelligence services - accusing them of carrying out “illegal surveillance” on her in the UK. According to the Financial Times, Larsen lodged the suit in December 2020, but it was not made available to the court until months later, in July 2021.

The case, however, moved forward at the end of last year. On December 7th, the hearing was held at the High Court of Justice, in London for a case which attacks the Borbon patriarch on several different fronts. Firstly, reputational aspects, because Corinna asserts that she felt attacked by Juan Carlos I. In the 32-page submission, the Danish businessperson quotes labels such as "thief", saying that the ex-king defined her as such in his closest friendships and circles connected to the business world. Thus, she asserts, he damaged her image and reputation as a "business consultant." Another of the claims that Juan Carlos cannot avoid facing if he has no immunity from prosecution is the accusation of harassment, the most dangerous issue for the former Spanish head of state.

Entire royal family could be affected

Larsen claims that she was subjected to "illegal surveillance and monitoring" and also accuses the CNI intelligence services, as a party involved in the monitoring of calls, investigation of bank accounts and tracking of mobile messages. The climactic moment was, according to the plaintiff, an unexplained break-in at her home in Chyknell Hall, Shropshire, just two years after Juan Carlos's "donation" to his mistress of 65 million euros. The third part of the accusation is "harassment by publications", also linked to Corinna Larsen's image. Beyond what he said among his close circles, Juan Carlos also allegedly tried to discredit her by leaking "totally false" information about her through a team of aides who "dedicated themselves to destroying her". The submission says the pressure she received began in 2012 and not only "threatened her safety," but also that of her children.

Will the exiled king finally return to Spain?

The case, however, may go further and the British press has been warning for months that it could spill over into Juan Carlos I's children and, therefore, affect the current king of Spain, Felipe VI. The complainant also accuses the emeritus of falsely accusing her of stealing 65 million euros, supposedly part of the controversial $100 million donation made in 2008 by the Saudi king Abdullah to the then Spanish monarch while he was in office. Larsen claims that Juan Carlos gave her those millions, but that, at the end of the relationship, he accused her of stealing the money, claimed it back and defamed her, which, she says, caused her to lose income in her role as a “strategic consultant working with high net worth individuals and leading companies around the world”, according to the Financial Times, which does not specify the exact sum in damages that Larsen is seeking but asserts that it is likely to be "in the tens of millions of euros". Just two weeks ago, a letter from Juan Carlos I - drafted jointly by the royal house and the Spanish government - appeared to reveal a pact that would allow the emeritus to return for frequent visits to Spain, while retaining the official residence in the United Arab Emirates, to which he fled in 2020. Now, this will have be reconsidered, at any rate in terms of how he might avoid the possible consequences of this last setback. Before those consequences are known, however, Spain's former head of state will have to go on trial.