Spain’s former king Juan Carlos strikes new deal with taxman over flights to hunting trips

FORMER Spanish king Juan Carlos I has reached a new deal with Spain’s Tax Agency over hunting trips he enjoyed after he abdicated in 2014. The former monarch has accepted a fine on the basis that he should have declared flights that he was given as gifts by businessmen in order to attend the hunts. 

According to information published by Spanish daily El Mundo, the Spanish tax authorities have been requesting information from Juan Carlos about these trips, taken between 2014 and 2018, since mid-2021. 

Not only were the tax authorities interested in the flights but also gifts with a much smaller value, including Iberian hams or tailor-made shoes. 

In 2020 and 2021, Juan Carlos made a number of payments to the Tax Agency in order to regularise his situation given that he was being investigated over alleged hidden bank accounts. This avoided him facing any charges for tax offences. 

Juan Carlos’s abdication was prompted by a series of scandals, including revelations that he had an affair with Danish-German businesswoman Corinna Larsen, who goes by her married name Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn. 

He then fled Spain and went into self-imposed exile in Abu Dhabi in 2020 after details about his financial irregularities piled up.  

Sources close to the self-styled emeritus king told El Mundo that they believe the latest tax inspection is a manoeuvre from the Socialist Party-led government in order to open ‘a new front’ against him and stop any attempt of his to return to Spain.

In May, Juan Carlos made his first visit to Spain since leaving for Abu Dhabi, heading to Galicia for a sailing regatta. The trip, however, turned into a media circus and caused a headache for his son, King Felipe VI, who has been keen to put distance between the royal family and the disgraced emeritus king. 

Juan Carlos was criticised at the time of the visit by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez for not having offered an explanation to the Spanish people about his financial affairs. 

The latest agreement with the Tax Agency means that the emeritus king has no more investigations pending. A series of court probes into his finances have already been shelved both in Spain and Switzerland, on the basis of a lack of evidence, the statute of limitations and the fact that he enjoyed immunity as king at the time of the allegations. 

He is still facing, however, a civil trial in the High Court in London brought by Larsen, who is accusing Juan Carlos of a campaign of harassment after their relationship ended. Meanwhile, a series of embarrassing revelations have emerged in the media this year about Juan Carlos. The HBO Max series Saving the King detailed not just his dodgy financial dealings, but also his string of extra-marital affairs. A podcast featuring his former lover Larsen, titled Corinna and the King, has also provided extra detail about his behaviour, including how he would arrive home from trips ‘as happy as a five-year-old’ carrying ‘bags of cash’.

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