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January 17, 2014

Spanish royalty in corruption scandals

There was a time when monarchies ruled all over the world and went unchallenged in whatever they chose to do. Those days have faded and even the monarchy itself has been disappearing as a ruling clique in many countries – in Europe, Asia and Africa.{{more}}

Remnants of the monarchy still remain, however, though fewer in number, and part of what must now be an endangered species. A few countries in Europe, notably Britain, the Netherlands, and Spain, still have constitutional monarchs, though with vastly reduced powers.

Their legitimacy is coming under more and more scrutiny and calls are being made for an end to this anachronistic institution. Those calls are being strengthened by the behaviour of some of these so-called “royals”, especially in regard to a number of scandals which have come to the notice of the public via the media.

The shenanigans of the British royal family, particularly since the days of Princess Margaret, are now well known, while other members of the family and their spouses have achieved their own notoriety. They are not alone, however, for in Spain, the family of King Juan Carlos has been coming in for strong public criticism.

The latest scandal surrounds the summons issued to Juan Carlos’ daughter, Cristina, as a suspect in a financial fraud case. She is to appear in court on March 8, in connection with allegations of tax-evasion and money-laundering linked to the business affairs of her husband. He is under investigation for alleged embezzlement of public funds, accused of taking advantage of his royal connections to siphon off some five million euros of public funds, through a number of companies and even a ‘non-profit’ institute he controlled.

In April of last year, mass public demonstrations called for an end to the Spanish monarchy after it was revealed that the king had gone on a publicly-funded African safari, hunting elephants in Botswana. Spanish citizens were incensed that this happened in the midst of an economic recession when cutbacks in government spending resulted in thousands losing their jobs and pensions. Besides, the elephant-hunting king was President of the Spanish branch of the World Wildlife Fund, dedicated to preserving wildlife!

One protester was clear in her demands: “The monarchy was imposed on us by dictatorship, therefore we consider it to be illegal.”

An end to the monarchy? SIGN OF THE TIMES, indeed.