Spanish king distances himself from scandal-hit father

Madrid (AFP) –


King Felipe VI of Spain moved Sunday to distance himself from his scandal-hit father, stripping him of his palace allowance and renouncing what he was due to inherit from him.

A statement from the palace announced that he had stripped the former king Juan Carlos, of his allowance and was himself renouncing what he was due to inherit from him.

The announcement came after media reports that Juan Carlos had received 100 million dollars (90 million euros) from Saudi Arabia via an offshore account -- and that King Felipe himself was also a beneficiary.

The money was lodged in a Swiss bank account in the name of a Panamanian foundation.

In the palace statement, the reigning king said that in April he had made it clear to a notary that he would accept no money from the foundation in question.

He also that he had absolutely no knowledge of having been named as a beneficiary to another foundation, which according to press reports paid millions of euros towards his father's flights in private jets.

On Tuesday, the Spanish parliament decided against launching an investigation into suspected money laundering by the former king Juan Carlos.

- Reported Saudi payments to ex-king -

Spain's hard-left Podemos party had called for it after reports earlier this month that in 2008 Juan Carlos received $100 million from Saudi king Abdallah via the Swiss account of an entity listed in Panama.

The Swiss daily Tribune de Geneve added that in 2012, $65 million of that sum was given by the king to his former mistress, Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein.

Then a report in Britain's Daily Telegraph said that 52-year-old King Felipe was also a beneficiary of the fund, which it said had been set up when Juan Carlos was still on the throne.

Juan Carlos, now 82, came to the throne after the death of the military dictator Francisco Franco in 1975 and is widely respected for having favoured a transition to democracy.

But he lost his immunity from prosecution after handing power to his son, Felipe, in June 2014 following a 39-year reign.

He resigned from public life last year after a series of scandals about his private life.

In 2012, he outraged Spaniards by going elephant hunting in Botswana at the height of the country's recession.

Spanish reports say Juan Carlos has until now received an annual allowance from the state of more than 194,000 euros.