Barcelona’s local council has decided to remove the gold medal the city granted to the then king Juan Carlos in 1992. In a plenary session on Thursday, councilors also decided to withdraw any other honor given to the ex-monarch, who fled Spain for Abu Dhabi in early August amid mounting corruption allegations and including a scandal involving alleged secret payments from Saudi Arabia and a bank account in Switzerland.
Yet, only the pro-independence parties, Junts per Catalunya and Esquerra, voted in favor of the move. Mayor Ada Colau’s party, Barcelona en Comú, abstained, while the Socialists, Manuel Valls’ Barcelona pel Canvi, Ciudadanos and the People’s Party voted against it. The motion also included officially condemning the Spanish government for collaborating in enabling former king Juan Carlos to leave Spain.
Colau’s group is the ally in Catalonia of the anti-austerity Podemos party, the junior coalition partner in the Spanish government. The mayor said that they abstained because the text talked about the “necessary collaboration” of Pedro Sánchez’s executive to Juan Carlos’ move. Yet, in July, Colau called the monarchy “corrupt” and called for a referendum to remove the monarchy and install a Republic.
Investigation into former king
Juan Carlos I is under investigation by the Supreme Court for allegedly receiving commissions in exchange for interceding that a Spanish consortium won a contract to build a high-speed train link to the city of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. While the Spanish constitution states that a king cannot be judged by any means, Juan Carlos’ abdication in favor of his son, Felipe VI, in June 2014 apparently put an end to his immunity.
On March 14, British newspaper The Telegraph published revelations that Felipe was named as a beneficiary for an offshore fund allegedly containing 65 million euros. The next day, the king relinquished his father’s legacy and withdrew his allocation from the royal family’s payroll.
As the corruption-ridden legacy of king emeritus Juan Carlos I continues to haunt the Spanish monarchy, calls to strip the crown of its constitutional inviolability have grown louder, especially ever since he left Spain on August 3 for the United Arab Emirates.