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Spain's Supreme Court receives paternity suit against ex-king

AFP

Former king of Spain, Juan Carlos and his son, the current king of Spain, Felipe, at the Royal Palace in Madrid on June 18, 2014Former king of Spain, Juan Carlos and his son, the current king of Spain, Felipe, at the Royal Palace in Madrid on June 18, 2014

Former king of Spain, Juan Carlos and his son, the current king of Spain, Felipe, at the Royal Palace in Madrid on June 18, 2014Former king of Spain, Juan Carlos and his son, the current king of Spain, Felipe, at the Royal Palace in Madrid on June 18, 2014

A paternity suit against Spain's recently abdicated king Juan Carlos of Spain has been lodged with the nation's Supreme Court by a waiter who believes he is the illegitimate son of the former monarch, a court spokeswoman said Thursday.

The suit was passed on to the Supreme Court on Tuesday by a lower court where it had been under review in light of controversial new legal protections for ex-king Juan Carlos, 76, who lost his total immunity when he quit the throne last month, she said.

It was brought by Alberto Sola Jimenez, 58, an adopted child who has claimed for years that his birth mother, the daughter of a well-known Barcelona banker, may have had an affair with the king before he married Queen Sofia which resulted in his birth.

Juan Carlos's former constitutional immunity thwarted two lawsuits in October 2012 by people claiming he fathered them before becoming king -- one by Sola and another by a Belgian housewife, Ingrid Sartiau, 48, who says her mother once told her the monarch was her father.

Sola, who used to run a successful metal firm in Mexico and now works as a waiter in the village of La Bisbal in northeastern Spain, appealed that verdict.

- Test of ex-king's legal protection -

Juan Carlos automatically lost the total immunity which he enjoyed during his 39-year reign when he abdicated on June 18, leading lawmakers to rush in controversial new legal protections for the ageing former monarch.

Unlike his previous immunity, the new measures do not completely shield Juan Carlos.

He now must answer to Spain's highest court, the Supreme Court, which has a high threshold for evidence, giving him similar protection enjoyed by many high-ranking civil servants and politicians.

Sola's paternity suit is the first legal challenge to be filed against the former monarch at the Supreme Court since he lost his total legal immunity.

The court will now have to decide whether it accepts the suit or shelves it.

Sola and Sartiau made headlines in Spain in 2012 when they teamed up and underwent DNA tests that showed there was a 91 percent chance that they had one parent in common.

They sent a joint letter to the Spanish royal household to ask for recognition. After receiving no reply they took their request for a paternity test to the courts.

Sola said in a recent interview with Britain's The Sunday Times that all he wants is recognition.

"I've no choice now but to put pressure on him. Every Spaniard has the right to know where he is from," he told the newspaper.

Date created : 2014-08-01