Corinna Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein has denied having an inappropriate relationship with King Juan Carlos.
Note: This article is from the Guardian.
She is the mysterious woman known to Spaniards as "the king’s friend", but on Tuesday self-styled German princess Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein became the centre of political debate as deputies in the Madrid parliament quizzed the country’s spy chief about her.
In a closed session, officials asked Félix Sanz, head of Spain’s Centre for National Intelligence, about whether Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, who claims to have worked on secret missions for the Spanish government, had been used by the spy service.
Sanz had previously denied the claims, and deputies who attended the meeting, though banned by secrecy rules from revealing the details of his briefing, appeared to believe him.
But Cayo Lara, leader of the United Left coalition, said he left the meeting happy with Sanz but still concerned by the relations between the princess, the government and the king. "As far as Corinna is concerned, I am as disturbed as ever," he said.
Lara called on the government of prime minister Mariano Rajoy to explain exactly what role Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein had played in representing Spain.
In an interview with El Mundo newspaper last month, Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, 48, claimed to have performed secret, unpaid work for the Spanish government. Her name was already associated with a scandal over King Juan Carlos’s passion for elephant hunting, after she accompanied him on a trip to Botswana.
The monarch, 74, who hurt his hip during the trip and had to be flown home, later apologised to Spaniards for secretly going off to shoot elephants while the country was going through a brutal recession that had left almost a quarter of the population without work.
Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein denied having an inappropriate relationship with the monarch, but that has not stopped newspapers, and some politicians, from remaining fascinated by her.
Her name also cropped up in emails delivered to a court investigating alleged fraud by the king’s son-in-law, Inaki Urdangarin, the duke of Palma. The emails showed she tried to help Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball player, find a position with an international sports foundation. "I was just trying to find him a suitable job," she told El Mundo.
Urdangarin has since been asked to post €8.1m in bail, together with a former business partner, while the allegations against him – which he denies – are investigated.
Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein acted as a go-between for foreign minister José Manual García Margallo a few months ago, when he needed someone to calm Abu Dhabi investors about a government decision to reduce subsidies to renewable energy companies in Spain, according to the newspaper.
She reportedly also wrote the script to a video homage to the United Arab Emirates founder, sheikh Zayed bin Sultan at Nahyan, in which the Spanish king took part, according to El Mundo. Prince Andrew also featured.
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