Belgravia property linked to Juan Carlos inquiry
22 Jul 2020

A Swiss prosecutor leading a money-laundering inquiry into secret offshore accounts linked to the former king of Spain is investigating the source of funds used by his former lover to buy a £5.5 million house in London.

The Eaton Square property was purchased by Corinna Sayn-Wittgenstein with money transferred from an offshore account linked to Juan Carlos, 82, in 2011. Ms Sayn-Wittgenstein, 56, his mistress from 2004 to 2009, told prosecutors that £1.5 million of it was a gift from the king and that she paid the rest back to him the following year.

She told prosecutors she had created a company, Riverhouse-Partners, to buy the house and spent an additional £4m renovating it, according to El Pais.

An email written by Ms Sayn-Wittgenstein to Arturo Fasana, Juan Carlos’s financial adviser, who is also under investigation, detailed how earlier in 2011 the king — referred to as “our friend” — had authorised her to buy a £6 million duplex flat; 8 Upper Belgrave Street, in central London.

In the email, published by El Mundo yesterday, she says that Juan Carlos “likes this option very much because of the location, the private entrance, and it being sheltered from anyone overlooking”. She adds: “I discussed the property with him in detail and he gave me the authorisation to make an offer.”

The sale fell through.

Ms Sayn-Wittgenstein is under investigation in Switzerland in connection with a €65 million payment made to her by Juan Carlos in 2012. The money came from a $100 million donation — €65 million at the time — to the former king from Abdullah, then the king of Saudi Arabia.

By Isambard Wilkinson, The Times, 22 July 2020

Read more at The Times

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