MONARCHY

King Juan Carlos spent €2-million inheritance paying his father’s debts

The monarch has not had a Swiss bank account since 1995

Royal family confident that its popularity will recover

King Juan Carlos (c) at a conference alongside Labor Minister Fátima Báñez on Thursday. / Emilio Naranjo (EFE)

After four months looking for documents concerning an inheritance left by his father, King Juan Carlos has found that he spent two million euros on paying “debts and other obligations” that were left by his parents, the Royal Household has said, adding that the monarch has not had a Swiss bank account since 1995.

However, Zarzuela palace officials added that they cannot find any statements that show the king paid taxes on the money, even though the monarch is “convinced” that he did. And the Finance Ministry has no records regarding the royal’s taxes for that period because it only keeps them for 20 years before destroying them, the Royal Household said.

Palace officials said that the money was never brought to Spain. Don Juan de Borbón, the king's father, died in 1993. He had spent much of his life as the exiled claimant to the Spanish throne during Franco's regime. Finally, the Spanish dictator chose his son as the future head of state.

With respect to information recently made public regarding the sale of 13 properties by Princess Cristina – information that was later said to be an error – Zarzuela stated that the royal family never believed there was “a conspiracy” regarding this issue that was brought before Palma de Mallorca Judge José Castro in the Nóos Institute inquiry.

“The Royal Palace was astonished by the report [the] Finance [Ministry] sent to the judge but then was relieved when it was found to be an error. The minister apologized and his explanation over what had happened convinced us,” the palace said.

Regarding the Nóos case – “an agony that has lasted two years,” – King Juan Carlos’s family believes that Judge Castro will conclude his inquiry by the end of the year.

Cristina’s husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, is under investigation for allegedly diverting to his private businesses some six million euros in public funds granted to his non-profit Nóos Institute. “There comes a moment when all investigations have to come to a close,” the palace said.

We have touched bottom and there has been an improvement of the Crown’s overall image"

Addressing the fall in the royal family’s popularity, the palace, which conducts its own private polls, said: “We have touched bottom and there has been an improvement of the Crown’s overall image. That assessment varies with age, and is lower among young people.” Prince Felipe is still more popular than his father, but the king’s image, they say, “is slowly recovering an upward trend,” although it far from the levels of popularity he enjoyed in 2007 and 2008. In any case, when asked whether they would prefer the monarchy to a republic, the majority of respondents still favor the monarchy.

As for the heckling of royal family members at public events, La Zarzuela says: “It does not worry us but it is bothersome. It is perfectly legitimate for people to express themselves in different ways. But it bothers us to an extent because it is a rude gesture, especially when [the hecklers] are in an enclosed four-wall space – at an event to which they too have been invited.”

The royal family is also confident that gestures, such as voluntarily incorporating their finances into the proposed Transparency Law and the king’s quick return to his official duties following the back surgery he underwent March 3, will help their image improve in the polls.

As for the draft Transparency Law, La Zarzuela says it will cover royal finances in a way which is "as transparent as possible."

"We won’t place any restrictions," they said.

Once the law is enforced, the Royal Household will, for the first time in its history, publish all of its expenses, from money paid to maintain palaces to cash spent on banquets and trips, as well as all contracts.

And as for the king’s recovery, the monarch has “much improved health and mobility” and “the pain is gone.” King Juan Carlos will make his first trip since his back operation to Morocco during Ramadan on July 15, and he hopes to make more journeys during the latter part of the year.

“The goal is to recover in the autumn part of the king’s agenda that had to be canceled because of the surgery.” Trips to France and Saudi Arabia remain pending.

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