Woman at heart of Spanish royal scandal says she's been treated like Wallis Simpson and Meghan Markle
Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein told The Telegraph: "Hostility is always directed against women."
The woman at the heart of a corruption scandal that has shaken the foundations of the Spanish royal family has compared herself to Meghan Markle and Wallis Simpson when she revealed details of a harassment campaign against them.
Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein told The Telegraph that "hostility is always directed against women" when she covered media hype about her relationship with former King Juan Carlos and alleged intimidation by Spanish intelligence officials in London.
In the most revealing interview she's given about the bitter aftermath of their breakup, Ms. Sayn-Wittgenstein said Spain's establishment and the media treated her like a modern day Wallis Simpson accused of being the evil woman responsible for the downfall of a king responsible for .
"There is a tendency for people who cannot control a powerful man to destroy the object of his affection," said the 56-year-old Danish celebrity.
“This story has survived to this day. You can even see it with Meghan and Harry. The hostility is always with the woman, and the poor man is that helpless creature who has been horribly manipulated and it is the woman who plunged the country into great crisis. "
Ms. zu Sayn-Wittgenstein's name was first linked to Juan Carlos in 2012 when she claimed her presence on a disastrous elephant hunting trip with the king was leaked by then head of the Spanish Secret Service (CNI), Félix Sanz Roldán, amid tensions in the palace about the possible abdication of the king.
Meghan Markle has also claimed she was maligned
Wallis and the Duke of Windsor in front of the government house in Nassau, Bahamas, around 1942
Since 2018, she and other employees of Juan Carlos in Switzerland have been investigated for alleged money laundering, leading to the discovery that in 2012 she received a gift of 65 million euros from the former king, the balance of a Panama-based mussel company, which he founded four years earlier thanks to a $ 100 million donation from Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah.
Anger over the 2012 safari and a separate corruption scandal involving Juan Carlos' son-in-law Iñaki Urdangarin prompted him to abdicate in 2014. When The Telegraph revealed in March that King Felipe had been named as the hereditary beneficiary of Panama-based residence, Juan Carlos' son turned down the Lucum Fund, denying any financial inheritance and vetoing the old king's annual grants .
After being examined by the Supreme Court prosecutor's office, 82-year-old Juan Carlos left Spain in August and flew temporarily into exile in Abu Dhabi.
In the weeks after the debacle in Botswana, when Juan Carlos broke his hip and had to be flown back to Madrid for an operation in a media hype, Ms. zu Sayn-Wittgenstein told General Sanz that her apartment in Monaco was "occupied by mercenaries for six weeks" Roldan told her the agents were there for her safety.
On a trip to Brazil that same month in April 2012, Ms. zu Sayn-Wittgenstein claimed she had been followed and at one point the driver of another vehicle tried to pull her off the road. “The night before I left for Brazil, a man appeared in my hotel room at 2am and said he was there to help me pack my bags. He didn't knock, he didn't turn on a light. "
Finally, she said that on May 5, 2012, General Sanz Roldán, CNI director from 2009 to 2019, visited her in her room at The Connaught Hotel in London. “It was a very scary conversation, like talking to Hannibal Lecter. He said, if you don't do what I say, I cannot guarantee the physical safety of you and your children. "
Juan Carlos of Spain and his wife Queen Sofia of Spain greet the crowd in 2004 from the balcony of the Oriental Palace
She said the general's instructions were not to speak to the media and "motivate" Juan Carlos to stay amid speculation of a possible abdication as king.
According to Ms. zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, the agents stole personal papers and professional contracts from her home in Monaco. This was the start of a "collapse of my financial and professional reputation" campaign in which Spanish state agents convinced their clients that they had behaved dishonorably towards Juan Carlos and even paid them to stop working with her.
"I feel hostage to the will of at least two extremely powerful men, the former King of Spain and General Sanz Roldán."
Ms. zu Sayn-Wittgenstein said all of her family relationships had been damaged by a whispering campaign, including her son Alexander, aged 14, who read news that she was "a thief and an unstable, crazy witch" on a WhatsApp Juan Carlos was also part of the group.
Ms. zu Sayn-Wittgenstein also said she was under constant surveillance, with her cell phone and PCs and those of her assistants being exposed to cyber attacks and the panic alarm going off in her London apartment at night.
“The ultimate goal is to isolate you and make you feel like you are alone in a field, and many people would commit suicide under that pressure. This brutal campaign, carried out with military precision, has left no part of my life untouched. "
When Ms. zu Sayn-Wittgenstein pondered how many people seem to justify abuse against her based on the huge financial gift she received from Juan Carlos, she said that her career eight years ago meant making the same amount of money would have if she hadn't been put out of business. "If I had had the choice between this gift and my career, I would have chosen my profession every day."
The current King of Spain, Right, has severed financial ties with his father
In 2019, the legal team of Mrs. zu Sayn-Wittgenstein turned to the Spanish King Felipe and the Spanish Queen Letizia. “I asked him to use his weight to stop his father's abuse campaign, who is still a member of the royal house. If you cannot control your own family, then how can you lead a nation? "
Ms. zu Sayn-Wittgenstein said King Felipe's only response was to distance himself from his father's financial dealings under fire and to ignore her allegations of harassment. "I find this amazing and worrying in today's climate with people like Harvey Weinstein and my heart goes out to these victims. Abuse is not always sexual, it can take many forms. In my case, it's psychological Kind of abuse. "
Ms zu Sayn-Wittgenstein has repeatedly stated that she will bring a lawsuit in a UK court accusing senior members of the Spanish state of harassment.
Regarding the Swiss investigation, Ms. zu Sayn-Wittgenstein said she remained confident that no charges would be brought against her.
She said she was confused about why she was questioned, unlike others who she said also received money from the same Lucum fund as another friend of Juan Carlos and the children of the former king, which she claimed had flown access to cash from the Foundation's Swiss bank account to Spain. "From the outside, it looks like the royal family and anyone who is really close to them is somehow excluded from this process," she said.
During her relationship with Juan Carlos, which she said lasted between 2004 and 2009, Ms. zu Sayn-Wittgenstein remembered the then king who took her on a tour of the Zarzuela Palace outside of Madrid, including the so-called " Cash Room ”with significant amounts of paper money.
“Cash is incomprehensible, so there was a lot of it in the palace. From everything he said to me, every family member who needed cash was helping themselves. "
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