Former King of Spain’s ex-mistress will be quizzed over her claims the royal ‘asked for a share of £72million payment made to secure rail deal for Spanish firms in Saudi Arabia’
- Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, 54, is the former mistress of Spain’s Juan Carlos
- She was recorded claiming the former Spanish King asked for a cut of a payment
- Claim concerns a £72 million secret payment from Spanish businesses in 2011
- The businesses allegedly paid the money to secure a railway deal in Saudi Arabia
- Juan Carlos ‘demanded a cut of the payment because he secured the rail deal’
The ex-mistress of the former King of Spain will be questioned by fraud officers after she claimed the royal demanded money for helping to secure a £6 billion rail deal for Spanish companies in Saudi Arabia.
Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, 54, said Juan Carlos, 81, who abdicated in 2014, asked for a share of a secret £72 million payment made by Spanish businesses to win the deal to build a high-speed rail line from Mecca to Medina in 2011.
She claims he asked for the money after telling her he needed cash to divorce wife Sofia and marry her.
Prosecutors in Madrid have now asked British authorities to allow them to quiz Sayn-Wittgenstein.
Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein (right) will be questioned over claims she made about her former lover, the ex-King of Spain Juan Carlos (left). Pictured together in 2006
She alleged that Juan Carlos, said to be close to the Saudi royal family, was involved in helping to broker the deal as part of his royal duties.
The former King of Spain has long-been linked with Sayn-Wittgenstein, 27 years his junior.
The German businesswoman is believed to have spoken about her ex-lover with a former police officer in London in 2015.
According to the Times, she said: ‘So the king said, ”What about my commission? I made the train possible. I spoke to my friend in Saudi. I am the one that [closed the deal]”.’
Sayn-Wittgenstein, unaware that the police officer was taping their conversation, claimed that the 12 Spanish companies involved in the deal to build the railway line gave the secret £72 million payment to the wife of a Saudi businessman.
She said he asked for a share of a secret €80 million payment made by Spanish businesses to win the deal to build a high-speed rail line from Mecca to Medina in 2011
She added that the King demanded that some of the payment be given to him for his help.
The former police officer leaked the conversation to the Spanish media.
Now, Spanish authorities have asked the Serious Fraud Office for a video interview with Sayn-Wittgenstein, who will be treated as a witness.
Prosecutors want to establish whether there is enough evidence to prosecute any businessmen involved in the secret £72 million payment.
However, OHL, one of the companies that took part in the deal, said that negotiations had been conducted legally.
Juan Carlos cannot be prosecuted over the deal as he was on the throne at the time.
The recordings hit the headlines last year after the former mistress claimed Juan Carlos was involved in money laundering.
She claimed he had used her name to buy property in Morocco as he was secretly trying to hide money.
Sayn-Wittgenstein first came to public attention in 2012 after being photographed with Juan Carlos on an elephant hunt in Botswana.
However, their romantic relationship is thought to have lasted from 2004 to 2010.
Sayn-Wittgenstein claims he asked for the money after telling her he needed cash to divorce wife Sofia (pictured with Juan Carlos) and marry her
Juan Carlos remains married to Queen Sofía after retiring from public life last month and passing the crown to his son Felipe in 2014.
Robin Rathmell, the lawyer acting for Ms Sayn-Wittgenstein, said: ‘Our client has not yet been approached in relation to the rail deal, a deal in which she had no involvement. She would be delighted to co-operate with the relevant authorities so the facts of the matter can be fully ventilated in court.’
A spokesman for the Spanish prosecutor said: ‘We sent the request to the SFO but we have still not had a response.’
The Spanish royal household declined to comment.