Spy chief will explain German princess’s alleged links to government
Spain’s National Intelligence Center director to answer questions in Congress about role of king’s personal friend
Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz on Thursday that it would be up to the head of the Spain’s National Intelligence Center (CNI) to discuss what working relationship, if any, the German princess, Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, had with the agency. In Brussels, the minister refused to answer reporters’ questions about comments made by Sayn-Wittgenstein and her connections with the Spanish monarchy that have become cause for concern among some Spanish lawmakers and sensational speculation on TV gossip shows and glossy magazine fodder.
CNI director Félix Sanz Roldán will appear before a closed-door session of Congress on March 19 after the United Left coalition demanded explanations.
In interviews with different Spanish publications, Sayn-Wittgenstein, who works as a public relations consultant, said she has taken on different top secret and classified jobs for the Spanish government. Sayn-Wittgenstein was thrust in the public spotlight last year when it was discovered that she had personally accompanied King Juan Carlos on his controversial elephant hunt in Botswana last April, a trip in which he fell and broke his hip.
The monarch was severely criticized for going on the safari at a time when his countrymen are going through a serious economic crisis. At the same time, animal rights activists were angry that the king was taking part in recreational hunting activities.
He made an unprecedented public apology before a television news camera when he was released from the hospital following his hip replacement surgery.
Just as the past Socialist administration of Prime Minister Jose Rodríguez Zapatero, the current Popular Party government has declined to discuss Sayn-Wittgenstein.
“We would be interested if they could tell us what Doña Corinna has said publicly and what type of services has she performed for Spain,” said José Luis Centella, the IU spokesman in Congress.
The German princess, who is a close friend of the king’s, has also been dragged into the Nóos Institute inquiry after a series of emails were turned over by one of the defendants showing regular correspondence between royal son-in-law Iñaki Urdangarin, who is being investigated for allegedly diverting public funds from the non-profit entity that he ran. Sayn-Wittgenstein has said that she was trying to help Urdangarin secure a job with Laureus Foundation, which, among other things, hands out annual awards which recognize sporting achievements.