Former Spanish king’s ex-lover tells why she wants more than £100m damages

Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn wants more than £100 million damages (PA)
Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn wants more than £100 million damages (PA)

An ex-lover of Spain’s former king has told a London judge why she wants more than £100 million damages after making harassment claims.

Danish businesswoman Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, 58, who has homes in England, has sued Juan Carlos, 85, who abdicated in 2014, in London, and says the amount she is claiming will not surprise him.

Mrs Justice Collins Rice is overseeing the latest stage of the litigation at a High Court hearing in London.

Lawyers representing Juan Carlos, who denies harassment, have asked the judge to dismiss Ms zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn’s claim.

They say Ms zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn wants more than £126 million – including more than £112 million for “loss of business and income” – and argue that she has no “realistic” prospect of success.

Juan Carlos I of Spain, left
Juan Carlos has denied any wrongdoing (David Ramos/Pool/PA)

Ms zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn has told the judge, in a written witness statement, that she had earned “significant” sums working as a “strategic consultant” who had helped clients, including Volkswagen, develop business relationships in jurisdictions where they were not established.

She says she wants to hold Juan Carlos to account for the “harm caused to my mental health by his harassment” and to hold him responsible for the “full financial consequences of his actions”.

“My earnings as a strategic consultant were reduced to zero from 2015 onwards, despite having earned from that business on average nearly £7.5 million every year between 2008 and 2012, and approximately £4.5 million in each of 2013 and 2014,” she said in her witness statement.

“Because of the harassment, I haven’t been able to continue working as a strategic consultant.

“My existing business relationships had been completely destroyed by the defendant.”

Ms zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn told the judge: “Given my earning capacity, the defendant will not have been surprised by the amount of my claimed losses.”

She said: “The defendant contacted my existing business relationships … and persuaded them to sever their business relationships with me.

“I believe he did this by promising that they would benefit from their association with him…

“Between 2013 and 2015, the defendant caused articles about me and my business affairs to be published by the media, through which I believe he intended to damage my reputation and to prevent me from earning a living.”

She said she had recently begun a new business providing advice to clients who found themselves in “complex international challenges”.

Juan Carlos ruled from 1975 until his abdication in 2014 and the succession of his son, King Felipe VI.

A number of other judges have considered issues in the litigation and heard that Ms zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn is Danish, had lived in Monaco and has homes in London and Shropshire.

They have been told that Ms zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn had complained about a “campaign of harassment” begun by Juan Carlos from 2012, following the “break-up of an intimate romantic relationship” and her “refusal” to let him use about £56 million “irrevocably gifted” to her.

Ms zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn’s lawyers have told Mrs Justice Collins Rice Juan Carlos gave her the money in 2012 after saying he wanted to provide for her and her family.

They said he “deceived” her and that the “gift” was a “device to retain control of the funds”.