The defense of Corinna Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, former lover of the king emeritus, has argued this Tuesday in the High Court of London that Juan Carlos I he does not enjoy immunity because he is not head of state, He is financially independent and lives separately from King Felipe VI.
This position has been presented in court number 76 of the Queen’s Bench Division of the Superior Court, on the second day of the case related to the lawsuit that Corinna has filed against the emeritus for having been a victim of alleged harassment since 2012.
Before the lawsuit can go ahead, the judge in charge of the case, Matthew Nicklin, has to determine whether the former Spanish head of state still enjoys immunity.
In the session the day before, the lawyers of Juan Carlos I argued that the English courts do not have jurisdiction over the claim and that the emeritus enjoys immunity under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and also of the British law on Immunity, which refers to the immunity of foreigners.
In her lawsuit, Corinna accuses Juan Carlos I of having subjected her to “harassment” since 2012 up to now, personally or through “agents” at your service. Those actions, according to the applicant, “threatened” her safety and that of her children.
Corinna’s defense arguments
In this Tuesday’s session, Corinna’s lawyer, James Lewis, stressed that Juan Carlos I he is not “a sovereign” or “head of state” because he abdicated in June 2014, and has said that the only person entitled to immunity in relation to the Kingdom of Spain is his son, King Felipe VI.
Another of the arguments put forward by the defense is that the emeritus does not depend on your child and that in the case related to the lawsuit, it cannot be said that there is State immunity because there is personal damage, which the defense identifies as anxiety and psychological damage.
Felipe VI, Lewis added, is the only one with the exclusive powers of head of state and Juan Carlos I “has none”, but only a title – that of emeritus – that is of an “honorific” character.
For the lawyer, the emeritus it is not part of the Royal House, something that Juan Carlos I’s lawyer, Daniel Bethlehem, rejects, who has defended in the session this Tuesday that the Royal House is an institution in Spain, of which officials are also part.
The judge misses an explicit statement from Spain
The judge, who has not given a date for his ruling, has regretted the lack of explicit declaration of Spain on whether Juan Carlos I is still a member of the Royal Household, after the plaintiff recalled that the emeritus lives in Abu Dhabi.
The magistrate has affirmed that the abdication of Juan Carlos I has a constitutional significance because he ceased to be Head of State and, therefore, it can no longer have the status of sovereign.
According to Corinna’s defense, she and Juan Carlos I they started a romantic relationship in 2004 which ended in 2009 after the ex-lover learned that the emeritus was unfaithful to her. Both parties maintained the friendship after the breakup and in 2011, according to the plaintiff, Juan Carlos I gave him a series of gifts, such as jewelry, works of art and also 65 million euros in June 2012, the year in which the emeritus He tried to restart the romantic relationship, but the businesswoman refused, according to his version.
The plaintiff seeks personal injury damages for el “great mental pain, alarm, anxiety, anguish and loss of well-being, humiliation and moral esteem” who has suffered. Likewise, Corinna’s lawyers allege that the emeritus has lost the prerogative of inviolability in Spain and that King Felipe VI himself publicly distanced himself from his father and specifically cited that in March 2020 the head of state renounced the inheritance of his dad.
The € 65 million donation ($ 76 million) that Corinna claims to have received from the emeritus is allegedly part of money that the late King of Saudi Arabia had sent to a Swiss bank account linked to a Panama-based tax-advantaged foundation, and whose beneficiary was Juan Carlos I.
Last January, Corinna testified as a witness, via videoconference from an English court, in a trial held in Madrid against former Spanish commissioner José Villarejo. In his speech he assured that he received repeated threats from the former head of the National Intelligence Center (CNI) Félix Sanz Roldán. In this sense, the judge said this Tuesday that the Spanish State would help if it clarified whether that act of Roldán was of the State and if it fell under the category of sovereign immunity.