Barcelona to strip Spain’s departed ex-king of city awards

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Barcelona’s city council voted to strip former Spanish King Juan Carlos of all official awards he received from the city, including its highest honour, over allegations of corruption.

The former monarch abruptly left Spain for the United Arab Emirates this month, under the cloud of preliminary investigations into his business dealings in Spain and Switzerland that followed a Swiss newspaper report linking him to an alleged illegal money transfer.

His sudden exit, and a subsequent two-week official silence on his whereabouts, reignited a debate about the role of the monarchy in Spain, where opinion about the institution is sharply divided.

The ex-king, against whom no formal investigation has been opened, has repeatedly declined to comment on the allegations. His lawyer has said he remains at the Spanish prosecutor’s disposal.

Barcelona’s Mayoress Ada Colau chairs the City council’s meeting held to vote on the decision to withdraw the City’s Gold Medal from Emeritus King Juan Carlos in Barcelona, Spain, 27 August 2020. The meeting is held under request of the pro-independent parties ERC and JxCAT due to the scandal in which Emeritus King Juan Carlos could be allegedly involved in a corruption case. EPA-EFE/Quique Garcia

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, where a powerful separatist movement has been campaigning for years to establish a republic independent of Spain, and the vote to strip the former king of the awards was carried by separatist parties on the council. Catalans are split over independence.

The honours Juan Carlos received included the prestigious gold medal awarded to people who have distinguished themselves through personal merit or by rendering exceptional services to Barcelona.

City Mayor Ada Colau, whose party abstained in the vote, criticized the royal palace for allowing Juan Carlos to leave the country without facing the allegations surrounding him.

“These are serious events that have generated real alarm… Like all democrats we want transparency and many more answers than the palace has provided so far,” she said.

Once you're here...

%d bloggers like this: