In an interview with the BBC, Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, also known as Corinna Larsen, has given an account of her relationship with former king Juan Carlos and spoken about allegations of financial irregularities.
The BBC interview gives much prominence to the trip to Botswana in 2012. The safari was a tenth-birthday present from the then king to her son, and it was to result in huge controversy because of the photo of Juan Carlos and the elephant that he had hunted.
Sayn-Wittgenstein, who says that she is a hunter but would never kill an elephant, suggests that the trip marked a turning-point. They had been romantically associated between 2004 and 2009, something which the Spanish public had not been aware of. She wasn't keen on making the trip and felt that it was an attempt by Juan Carlos to get her to go back to him. After the photo appeared and also after Juan Carlos fractured a hip while on the trip, Sayn-Wittgenstein says that the "exhaustive monitoring" of her (and of Juan Carlos) began. At the same time, there was the corruption investigation into Juan Carlos's son-in-law, Iñaki Urdangarin, while unemployment in Spain was at 23%.
She says that she began to receive "unwelcome attention" from the CNI, Spain's intelligence service, and that her apartment in Monaco was searched while she wasn't there.
Of the allegations of financial irregularities, Sayn-Wittgenstein says that she was "very surprised" to have received an "enormously generous gift" from Juan Carlos. This was after the Botswana trip; the amount was roughly equivalent to 65 million euros. This was supposedly what was left from a payment of 100 million dollars by the late king of Saudi Arabia to a Swiss bank account; the beneficiary was King Juan Carlos. She insists that Juan Carlos was not trying to hide or launder the money; he had given her the money "out of love".