Spanish royal family corruption scandals


This video is called Corruption scandal looms over Spanish royal family.

By Vicky Short:

Corruption scandals engulf Spain’s monarchy

12 March 2013

The corruption scandals rocking Spain’s governing right-wing Popular Party (PP), as well as many other financial and business concerns, have now extended to King Juan Carlos and the royal family.

At a time when the vast majority of the Spanish population are suffering enormous hardship as the result of years of brutal austerity measures, the top layers of society are increasingly hated for profiteering from the crisis while issuing statements for unity to solve it. The king recently said that the way to overcome the crisis would be from everyone in the country “acting together, uniting our voices, rowing in unison”.

Last year, the media attempted to whip up sympathy for the king when he broke his hip. The initial story was that it had happened while he was working in his office, but it turned out that he had actually fallen during a secret luxury African safari hunt in Botswana while shooting elephants.

It was also alleged that he had used his privileged position to procure sponsors for criminal financial operations involving his son-in-law, Iñaqui Urdangarin, and his wife, the king’s daughter Cristina de Borbón.

Urdangarin, an Olympic medal-winning handball player, was given the title of Duke of Palma on his marriage. He is alleged to have embezzled millions of euros of government funds through a non-profit organisation he co-directed between 2004 and 2006. Urdangarin and former business partner Diego Torres are accused of setting up a network of fictitious commercial companies that operated behind the Instituto Nóos, which organised sporting and tourism events.

Both are being investigated for allegedly siphoning off to these companies €5.8 million (US$7.6 million) belonging to the PP-run governments of Valencia and the Balearic Islands. This is believed to be just a small part of an intricate web.

In an attempt to keep him out of the scandal, the king sent Urdangarin and his family to Washington, D.C., to take up a consultancy post with the Spanish telecoms firm Telefonica. If the plan was to leave Torres to face the music, he is having none of it. In his defence, Torres produced dozens of documents and e-mail exchanges implicating Urdangarin, his wife and the king, who has not yet been investigated.

The corruption scandals involving members of the royal family are producing questions about their legitimacy and the future of the monarchy.

In 1969, Franco had already appointed then-prince Juan Carlos as his heir apparent. He groomed and trained him over years in the hope that he would continue Francoism without Franco. After his appointment, in court Juan Carlos swore “fidelity to the principles of the National Movement and other basic laws of the Kingdom”.

He told interviewers, “General Franco is, historically and politically, a truly significant figure for Spain. He was the one that took us out of and resolved our crisis of 1936.”

Asked what General Franco represented for him personally, Juan Carlos answered, “For me, he is a living example, day by day, for his patriotic performance at the service of Spain, and because of that I have a great affection and respect for him.”

An upsurge against the monarchy would threaten the entire network of myths and lies, as well as institutions established during the transition and the renewal of revolutionary struggles. While, in general, the official political parties such as the PSOE and the media have come to the defence of the king, or rather what the king represents, there are more cautious sections that believe a less damaging situation could be achieved by replacing the king with his son, Prince Felipe de Borbón.

The daily El Pais published an editorial early this year titled, “El Tiempo del Principe” (The Prince’s Time). While not openly calling for an abdication, it attempted to separate the prince and his wife Leticia, a commoner and divorced journalist, from the king and the corruption scandals.

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