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Episode #7 - Transcript

A Dark Soul


Episode 7: A Dark Soul – Juan Carlos, conspiracy, and the Villarejo tapes

MISHEL (00:05): 

Previously on Corinna and the King… 

CORINNA (00:08): 

The entire operation was about hiding the true state of his wealth from the Spanish people. I was in cold sweat. It really, really indicated to me how far he was prepared to go. The message is “You either go back to the king or it’s the money back.” Juan told me there was a very dangerous plot involving me in serious financial crime. At some point, who do you trust when you are already in such a dire situation. There are very few people still left you can trust. 

MISHEL (00:42): 

It’s the moment Corinna’s been waiting for. José Manuel Villarejo has just flown into London from Madrid, armed with the proof she needs to show she’s being framed and spy chief General Sanz Roldán is behind it all. 

Villarejo arrives first at Corinna’s building in Eaton Square, a luxury residential garden strip in Belgravia, with Juan Villalonga, the former president of Telefónica and husband of Corinna’s long time friend, Vanessa, close behind. 

CORINNA (01:17)

The impression that he gave me is that he was investigating abuse of power by certain individuals in the Spanish Secret Service, namely General Sanz Roldán. And I was convinced that Villarejo was a good guy in the internal police

MISHEL (01:22): 

It’s a risk, having Villarejo, a former police commissioner, over to her home. But driven out of Spain and away from her friends, she has little choice.  

CORINNA (01:45): 

Who else could help me? I felt really like I had no one. 

MISHEL (01:54): 

The doorbell rings and the housekeeper receives Villarejo, walking him through a narrow hall into a chic living room, where Corinna’s decades-long love for hunting really shines

A lion’s skull is preserved in a glass case. Hunting books line the shelves alongside several of those silver elephants, which were originally gifted to the king and are now freshly polished. The housekeeper draws back a fine chainmail curtain to the drawing room where Corinna sits, waiting. She offers him a drink. They exchange formalities and wait for Juan to turn up.

Immediately, it’s clear she’s not what Villarejo expects. 


I had been told that she was trying to take advantage of economic situations, that she was a sort of vampire. But what I saw was a woman who was in love, disenchanted, and disappointed with the person whom she had loved so much.

MISHEL (03:09): 

And for an undercover police officer, Villarejo isn’t exactly what Corinna expects. He’s older, a little heavy. White grizzly stubble. He’s also wearing thick-rimmed glasses and a flat cap. Sometimes he even wears an eyepatch for a medical condition. Not exactly inconspicuous. 

But there’s something about him. He’s listening, really paying attention to her words.

CORINNA (03:41): 

He showed himself to be on my side. He showed empathy. He seemed to say that Sanz Roldán was a really reprehensible character. He seemed to reassure me in that there was a way out for me.

MISHEL (03:57): 

And in Villarejo she sees an unlikely ally. He can see the years of stress etched on her face – all because of the king. 

But first, the proof. He hands her a classified document on Spanish Secret Service official letterhead.

CORINNA (04:17): 

It looked very real to me. I’ve seen a lot of documents coming from governments in my professional career. This was not some cheap fake.

MISHEL (04:27): 

The initials – PC – jump out at her. Princess Corinna.  

There’s a plan in place. And it will frame Corinna for embezzling money from an investment project she had quietly helped Juan Carlos with back in 2006 – the Saudi Spanish Infrastructure Fund – back when Corinna was girlfriend-slash-advisor, escorting him on official foreign trips. The first step of the plan? Fake a Madrid residency for Corinna so Spanish prosecutors can charge her. 

Corinna pores over the details. She turns a page and her eyes fall on something familiar. Her stomach drops.

CORINNA (05:12): 

I realized that some of the contents in this document could have only been lifted off documents stolen from my Monaco office.

MISHEL (05:21): 

Private banking documents, corporation documents with all her details, taken during the raid on her Monaco apartment – the one that had been occupied by the secret service and her staff thrown out “to secure the premises” 

For her protection, the king had said. 

CORINNA (05:45): 

It suddenly dawned on me that the agents had not only stolen these documents, but they were making use of them. Now, having read all these articles previously that I was living in Madrid, it became apparent to me that they’d already executed part one of the plan.

MISHEL (06:01): 

The secret service’s alleged effort to frame her is already in motion. She believes Sanz Roldán is overseeing it. It’s not a surprise. It only confirms her worst fears, but then she sees something that truly shocks her. The king himself has signed off on the plan.

CORINNA (06:24): 

Juan Carlos had been given several options, and he had gone for option two, which was to fully expose me as a criminal individual. Reading the directions given by Juan Carlos literally put me in a state of complete panic.

MISHEL (06:42): 

So this is what it had come to. Once lovers, an affair so intimate it was like a marriage. Now Juan Carlos was signing off on her ruin. Choosing it from a menu of options for her destruction. 

Corinna is speechless, but Villarejo can’t take her word for it. He looks around her, at her life of luxury, so he grills her. Was she in on the embezzlement? Is she hiding undisclosed money? Where is it? 

CORINNA (07:15): 

He played the sort of, I could be a good cop, but right now I’m really the bad cop. And I need you to tell me how involved are you? Have you done any of these things? So I’m literally almost hysterically trying to explain that I have nothing to do with all of this. 

MISHEL (07:30): 

Villarejo listens intently, nodding along. He starts to soften, shaking his head sympathetically at her describing Sanz Roldán’s harassment, at the king’s worst behavior. He promises to meet with her again. And they do, twice more, but like so many people in this story, Villarejo is not who he says he is.

CORINNA (08:00)

I thought we were having an off the record conversation because he was running this internal affairs investigation. I had no idea that I was being recorded.

MISHEL (08:15): 

I’m Mishel Prada, and this is Corinna and the King, episode seven – A Dark Soul. 


The trap has been set. Maybe Corinna should be more careful who she talks to. Maybe she should be a little less helpful.


CORINNA (08:40): 

So in the midst of all of this, Villarejo coming here and being accused of theft, I’m still thinking I can somehow appease this person, appease the king.

MISHEL (08:49): 

Because there’s still that penthouse to figure out, Juan Carlos’ copycat London apartment, so kindly donated by the Omani royal family, that has to look just like hers. The entire place is in the middle of being completely gutted. 

CORINNA (09:08): 

He had basically instructed the complete demolition and refurbishment. It’s a huge project. 

MISHEL (09:15): 

The renovation alone is a four-million-pound project. But even with everything that’s going on – the media smear campaign, the blacklisting, the threats – Corinna continues to manage it, sleeping less, working more. She has to.

CORINNA (09:35): 

I’m still sufficiently scared that if I’m not somehow cooperative that the repercussions will become even more severe.

MISHEL (09:44): 

What she doesn’t see is that the apartment itself is another hidden asset. She gets lost in the details, matching his penthouse exactly to hers.

CORINNA (09:57): 

This involved choosing every coffee spoon. There wasn’t a napkin, or a towel, or a cushion, or a coffee table book that hadn’t been included in this massive refurbishment.

MISHEL (10:12): 

And every expense is accounted for – above board, within the law. And when it’s finished, she breathes a sigh of relief. It’s perfect. 

Except for one thing.

CORINNA (10:26): 

I’m suddenly getting emails from the developer about a change of title, a transfer of title. 

MISHEL (10:37): 

The title for the £50 million apartment is being transferred to a man named Mohamed el Husseiny.

CORINNA (10:45): 

He’s a British citizen of Lebanese origin, educated at Gordonstoun, worked for Goldman Sachs. So a very educated, articulate, successful young guy. 

MISHEL (10:57): 

Corinna met el Husseiny while doing business in Abu Dhabi. It just so happens that his father is a businessman with significant interests in Spain. She’s even introduced el Husseiny to Juan Carlos herself. So when she sees that the property is being put in his name, the alarm bells are deafening. Juan Carlos is using her again. She does up the apartment all nice. He uses someone else’s name to hide the asset. Another proxy. Another shady deal. One more link to Corinna. 

CORINNA (11:35): 

And I’m immediately firing out emails to all these involved parties, i.e. the developer and the Omanis saying, “This person is fronting for Juan Carlos. This will become a huge problem.” I’m stopping short of saying “This will be a criminal offense” but I’m making it very clear. 

MISHEL (11:58): 

Corinna cuts as many ties to the project as she can, blocking emails, redirecting the mail. She will not be dragged into Juan Carlos’s latest financial foul play. 

CORINNA (12:09): 

I am just having more sleepless nights, imagining what Juan Carlos is getting up to next, and how this is going to, at some point, be used against me. I am just panicking in terms of, what next?

MISHEL (12:25): 

Her last connection with Juan Carlos is severed, like a line going dead. 

Or so it seems…

CORINNA (12:35): 

I literally did everything that I possibly could to appease the man. And of course, nothing worked.

MISHEL (12:42): 

Her professional reputation has already been wrecked, friends and contacts lost. Then he goes for her achilles heel – her nearest and dearest. 

CORINNA (12:55): 

At this point, they’ve abducted many of my social contacts, all of my clients, ex-husbands, close friends, and now, they are going after my children. They’ve all been told, I’m a thief, I’m disloyal, and untrustworthy. And that to me just was devastating. 

MISHEL (13:15): 

Corinna notices it in her son’s behavior first. Alexander is a teenager, so some attitude is to be expected, but this – this is something else. He’s calling his mother a liar. He’s answering back, ignoring Corinna when she asks him to do his homework because she’s a commoner.  

She never expected Juan Carlos to go for her children. Then she finds out about the Whatsapp group. All of them are in on it. 

CORINNA (13:48): 

…And they call themselves The Pride, as in a pride of lions. And on this WhatsApp group, you now have Juan Carlos, Philip, my first husband, Casimir, my second husband, and both my children. 

MISHEL (14:03): 

Philip denies being part of the WhatsApp group. You’ll remember he has denied every single one of Corinna’s assertions, except of course the year they were married. But we reviewed screenshots showing he was a member of the chat. Casimir didn’t respond to our requests. 

In the group chat, allegations against Corinna are thrown out like it’s nothing. Every single one of her exes claim her achievements – everything she has in life – she has stolen. Even her married name and the title – zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn – which happens to be of German Royal lineage, that she keeps when her marriage to Casimir fails.

CORINNA (14:51): 

My son at the time was only 14. And all these men who you look up to are telling you that they’re ganged up in one group against your mom. You maybe think “Could mommy be a liar and a thief? And can I trust her? Obviously, it’s easy to manipulate a 14 year old saying, “You are one of the boys and we are The Pride.” 

MISHEL (15:17): 

Then there’s her daughter, Nastassia. Their relationship is strained to say the least. Nastassia lives in New York, a long flight away from Corinna. By the end of 2015, it’s been months since Corinna’s seen her. 

CORINNA (15:33): 

She was completely missing in action. So I’d already lost one child to this battle. She was next seen in the summer of 2016 on a yacht belonging to Pepe Fanjul by her godmother who reported this to me. And I assumed she was with her father on this boat, but her godmother reported that she was not accompanied by her father. 

MISHEL (15:57): 

Pepe Fanjul, a billionaire sugar baron in his early 70s, is on his yacht, the Azúcar, with his close friend Juan Carlos, on a holiday island off Cape Cod. And, Corinna’s 23-year-old daughter is spotted frolicking on the boat with the two men.

CORINNA (16:16): 

Rumors started circulating about there being an inappropriateness. And you have to understand for a mother to be faced with a situation like this is completely devastating. 

MISHEL (16:29): 

Corinna won’t divulge these rumors, or the alleged inappropriateness, but the damage is done.

CORINNA (16:37): 

I was just crying for weeks. You’ve got one missing child. You’ve got another child who doesn’t believe a word you say. I didn’t know some days if I could actually face another day.

MISHEL (16:51): 

Then, as if things couldn’t get worse, Corinna finds out that the ex-king himself is getting his hands dirty. Juan Carlos gets on board a flight to a remote village in Austria.  

CORINNA (17:04): 

He’s going there to see the great-grandmother of my son, who he had probably not seen in 30 years. 

MISHEL (17:12): 

Marianne, Princess zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn. She’s nearly 100 years old. And Juan Carlos has a singular objective. 

CORINNA (17:23): 

It’s difficult to even explain when you have an ex-partner who goes to visit the great-grandmother of your son in a small Austrian village and starts spinning all of these nasty lies to your family, to your children, fathers, grandparents, to undermine their trust in their mother. 

MISHEL (17:49): 

Corinna’s family, ex-partners and all, had gone from gathering around the Christmas tree every year to barely speaking. Her daughter is estranged. Her former husbands are all trolling her on Whatsapp. And her former in-laws now believe she’s a criminal. 

At the center of it all, the once-charming, adored, Juan Carlos. He can’t have Corinna, and he can’t have his money back. So he will take whatever he can from her.

CORINNA (18:23): 

And it led to a complete breakdown of the entire family. He obliterated our family. And this is solely out of spite, not out of necessity. It is solely because he wants me to know that he can. 

MISHEL (18:37): 

Someone is always watching, it seems. She has another scare when she finds a perfectly round hole cut out of her bedroom window in her newly purchased country home, Chyknell Hall Estate in Shropshire. Listed on the market for £7.5 million, the eleven bedroom, seven-living room sprawling estate is even bigger than Zarzuela Palace. 

CORINNA (19:05): 

There was no explanation for it. Nothing had been taken. Immediately, I have to spring into action, getting someone to do a debugging exercise, because of course, our concern at this point is almost much more is like, “Has somebody planted anything?

MISHEL (19:22): 

She finds nothing. She’s a nervous wreck, waiting for what he will do next.

CORINNA (19:29): 

Maybe the intention was to destroy me, maybe because I didn’t come back, because he couldn’t use me financially. Maybe because he couldn’t bend me to his will. I mean, these were quite desperate measures to take to get a woman in line. And women who disobey, well, they need to be burned at the stake. 

MISHEL (19:48): 

And burn she does… 

Three years after her first meeting with Jose Manuel Villarejo, Corinna’s world collapses.

CORINNA (19:58): 

I found myself in the summer of 2018 in the biggest crisis ever, really. 

MISHEL (20:05): 

It starts in November 2017, with the arrest of Villarejo on corruption and money laundering charges. What is happening? Unbeknownst to Corinna, Villarejo has been working with the General all along, digging up dirt on Corinna and what she knows about the king’s corrupt financial practices. 


They wanted me to gain her confidence so I could recover some compromising documents she had. And that was pretty much my mission – what is called “MEA” or MAA in English in the intelligence world – and stands for Motivation, Assignment, and Agreement.

MISHEL (20:58):

But when Corinna isn’t as forthcoming as he’d like…


I tried to gain her confidence and get her to tell me where the famous files were, the files I was meant to recover. But obviously, she skillfully let me know that she didn’t even know where they were and her lawyers were the ones in charge of everything.  

MISHEL (21:24): 

That’s when he says his boss turns on him, when Sanz Roldán suspects Villarejo is a double agent actually helping Corinna, not just pretending to help her.


Mr. Sanz Roldán saw that, for the first time, I wasn’t meeting my objectives, and I had been very efficient up until then, so he thought I had switched sides.

MISHEL (21:52):

So to save himself, Villarejo throws Sanz Roldán’s mission to the wind and goes on national television to expose him. 

Villarejo is interviewed by TV host Jordi Évole across a table in a mocked-up interrogation room, a single strip light above them. He wears tinted glasses and a dark blue flat cap pulled down to his eyebrows, and says General Sanz Roldán has threatened Corinna and her children. He tells the host all about the Princess Diana threat she received years earlier, where a mysterious voice on the line warns her there are many tunnels where her car could crash between Nice and Monaco.  

General Sanz Roldán denies the claims. And the corruption charges against Villarejo? When he’s arrested, he tells people this is also Sanz Roldán’s revenge.

Police raid his home, uncovering a massive trove of files and secret recordings that will expose the true motives of the figures in the highest echelons of Spanish politics and society…. 

Including Corinna, who in July 2018, is in Zimbabwe, miles from her team. Miles from anything in a remote part of the country, when her phone starts ringing – always a bad sign. 

It’s a bombshell. She’s hearing herself. She’s saying things that were never meant to be public. It’s Villarejo. He was covertly taping everything she said in their meetings – everything about the king’s wealth, his multi-million cash commissions for favors, his cozy relationships with Arab dictators. 

And the tapes have been leaked to the press, to the world.

Everything is published by the Spanish online daily newspapers, OKDiario and El Español. While Corinna frantically searches for a copy of the full recording. 

CORINNA (24:21): 

You’re wondering how this has happened, why this has happened. I couldn’t somehow understand why he would leak these recordings, who had really leaked these recordings, had they tampered with the recordings?

MISHEL (24:35): 

And when she finally listens to it, it’s not pretty. You’ll hear her speaking Spanish in these recordings and the quality is not that great.

CORINNA (24:48): 

Hay esas cosas que yo no ni he pedido ni me han informado. Me las han puesto no porque me quiere mucho. Es porque soy residente en Mónaco. Entonces no tengo el problema de declarar el patrimonio. 

MISHEL (25:05): 

Some of the conversations she has with Villarejo relate to her financial position, the king using her to hide his own assets. She says she’s a resident of Monaco and doesn’t have to declare assets like the king.


Cómo se le ocurre el jefe del CNI venir en persona a amenazarte? 

CORINNA (25:26):  

Sí, sí. Me ha amenazado la vida y la de mis hijos.  


Eso no se puede permitir. 

CORINNA (25:34): 

Eso lo sabía el Rey ya. 

MISHEL (25:37): 

Others relate to her safety fears and how the CNI has threatened her life and the lives of her children.

CORINNA (25:43): 

Han puesto algunas cosas en nombre de su primo, eso se queda entre nosotros…

MISHEL (25:49): 

But the biggest revelation? Corinna reveals the king’s secret assets, hidden in Switzerland under the identity of his cousin Álvaro de Orleans de Borbón and his Swiss lawyer Dante Canonica. 

She’s held this card for so long. And backed into a corner, she finally plays it. The king has been hiding his money for years. The public response is explosive. But never mind the king’s corrupt practices. How dare she, a foreigner, make Spain look bad? 

CORINNA (26:33):  

People looked at me as some traitor and as someone who had been indiscreet, tried to discredit the Spanish Monarchy. And I would say that this was probably the time where the media was at its most hostile towards me. 

MISHEL (26:51): 

But the secret recordings expose more than just Corinna and the king’s alleged arrangement. Revelation after revelation comes out about the Spanish establishment. Among the most damning – Operation Fari – a special operation to keep him away from Corinna. Villarejo says the king was injected with female hormones. 


They tried to artificially castrate him so he would stop having intercourse with Ms. Larsen. This is very serious.

MISHEL (27:27): 

Serious it is. Operation Fari is named after the Italian opera singer, Carlo Broschi, also known as Farinelli, famous in the 18th century for his very high voice – otherwise known as a castrato.  


This was a state matter that we had to ruin his libido, this burning flame, to put it in a way. And what’s more, it was Sanz Roldán who convinced Queen Sofía of signing the consent form.

MISHEL (28:05): It’s one of many crazy revelations in the conspiracy to ruin Corinna and the king’s relationship. But it’s the allegations of tax evasion and money laundering flying around that cause the biggest issue. Because in the background, Geneva’s top financial crime prosecutor is launching an investigation.

CORINNA (28:28): So by September, or I think late August, the Swiss prosecutor, Yves Bertossa, raids the offices of the king’s administrators, Dante Canonica and Arturo Fasana, and also Arturo Fasana’s home, several banks. 

MISHEL (28:44): 

Arturo Fasana is a Swiss banker and Juan Carlos’s wealth manager. In the Villarejo tapes, Corinna describes how Fasana, along with his lawyer Dante Canonica, helped hide the king’s millions. Now investigators are turning over his home, wheeling boxes and boxes of documents out of his office. 

CORINNA (29:08): 

I was always certain that I hadn’t committed any financial wrongdoing. So I didn’t even see this investigation against me coming. 

MISHEL (29:16): 

Corinna might not have seen the investigation coming, but she’s not stupid. After all, she does have 65 million of the king’s euros sitting in her bank account. So she lawyers up, prepares for the worst.

CORINNA (29:33): 

You basically have to wake up every morning and this is what I was doing, because even your lawyers have to question you. Have you actually done anything wrong? Did you inadvertently do something wrong? They need to check all of your bank accounts. So there is extensive due diligence of every single bank account that you own.

MISHEL (29:51): 

Aggravated money laundering. That’s the charge that’s been brought against Corinna. A crime punishable in Switzerland with up to five years behind bars. It puts her on a blacklist with all financial institutions. 

She has to face the prosecutor in December. 

CORINNA (30:12): 

So now people really have in fact officially the right to question your integrity, because you’re now under investigation for precisely the sorts of crimes that you’ve been previously wrongly accused of. I’m suddenly realizing that there’s a potential to accuse me of money laundering and at this point I’m having a complete meltdown because I’m now thinking, “Oh my God, they’ve succeeded. They’ve actually succeeded.”

MISHEL (30:39): 

Corinna tries everything to make it go away. She tries to reach Juan Carlos. She even hires James Watt, a former British ambassador, to try and make contact with the palace through diplomatic channels. But Corinna is persona non grata. No one wants to be associated with her. So she makes one last move. It’s another risk. It’s bold. In February 2019, she writes to the new king, Felipe, Juan Carlos’s son. 


CORINNA (31:15):  

My intention in writing to Felipe really was to alert him to this strategy of falsely accusing me. It was, I think for the sake of our families we should sit down and have a frank conversation about this because are you aware of what your father has been up to? Because I doubted that Felipe was actually fully informed.  

MISHEL (31:41): 

Her letter receives no response. Felipe has already made some attempts to put distance between himself and Juan Carlos, handling events on his own and generally avoiding being seen with his father in the same room. Corinna begins to lose hope.


Except, a few weeks later, Corinna can’t believe her eyes when her phone lights up. 

CORINNA (32:08): 

At first, I thought I was not seeing right when I saw the number and the name on my mobile phone screen. I didn’t answer the first time, cause I thought it may have been inadvertent. So I waited and the second phone call came through shortly after. And Juan Carlos basically said, “Hello, it’s me.” I said, “I know. How are you?” “I think it would be good if we could meet and talk.”

MISHEL (32:35): 

They decide to meet at her Belgravia apartment for lunch, the scene of so many previous tensions, and now the scene of a new one.

She’s anxious. Corinna hasn’t seen Juan Carlos in months, but it’s also because her son, Alexander wants to be there. He’s 17 now, and they’ve become really close. He’s back on her side, and he’s read the documents that had come out during the discovery process. She prepares for all eventualities.

CORINNA (33:09): 

I had contracted Israeli security for this purpose, because I was not entirely trusting that we were safe. And so I had a team come in from Tel Aviv.

MISHEL (33:22): 

Her Israeli security team arrives a few days before the meeting is due to go ahead. They sweep her home, checking each room, securing doors and windows. And when the meeting finally comes around, her place is spotless, prepped, lunch underway. 

When the king does arrive, he’s flanked by a man she’s never seen before. It’s unusual, unlike Juan Carlos to have new people around him. Corinna knows all his regular staff by name. She confronts the stranger. 

CORINNA (33:55): 

I asked him right at the front door, “Oh, are you His Majesty’s new private secretary?” And this man was hesitant in answering my question, looking towards the ground, avoiding eye contact, not responding to me. At this point, I’m suspecting it could be a secret service operative. 

MISHEL (34:17): 

So they’re off to an awkward start. But Corinna is not easily thrown, especially when she’s in hosting mode. The Spanish entourage lock eyes with the Israelis in a strange stalemate, served over tea and sandwiches. 

Corinna and Juan Carlos leave them in a tiny kitchen, heading into the dining room for their own equally awkward meal. 

CORINNA (34:46): 

I think we tried to serve him his favorite food. So I believe there was some caviar and then possibly a nice pasta. And we were certainly treating this like a lunch we would be having with a friend. 

MISHEL (34:59):

The caviar is out in a little china bowl, crushed ice slowly melting beneath it. Juan Carlos’s favorite bottle of red stands solemnly in the middle of the table. 

CORINNA (35:13): 

My first question, when Juan Carlos sat down was did you come here with the intention to sort of find a peaceful and constructive solution to the problem? Or have you been prepared by General Sanz Roldán for this trip?” and his answer was also conclusive to me. He launched into this great speech about the merits of General Sanz Roldán, his best friend, his closest confidant.

MISHEL (35:45): 

Nothing has changed. Corinna is plain with Juan Carlos. If you’re being coached by the spymaster, then this whole meeting is doomed. 

CORINNA (35:56): 

It’s not going to go anywhere, because I said I don’t think he has your best interest at heart. So I was just really interested in having a constructive dialogue. What I wasn’t interested in having was some sort of pre-organized entrapment operation, which this clearly was. 

MISHEL (36:12): 

Juan Carlos is acting a little funny. He’s speaking uncomfortably loud, and keeps edging closer to Corinna in his chair. Corinna stares at him. If it wasn’t bad enough discussing a money laundering suit with your ex, the possibility that he’s wearing a wire is

CORINNA (36:31): 

It was clear that he’s not very good at recording and appearing natural whilst doing it. Juan Carlos was leaning forward in a very obvious way and kept asking me what I wanted, and I said, “but I’ve made very clear what I wanted. I think they had stupidly assessed that I would name some sum of money, which was the last thing on my mind. 

MISHEL (36:52): 

It’s in the midst of this charade that Corinna’s son asks to speak. 

It’s been a difficult few years for Alexander. Juan Carlos has been like a father to him growing up, and now he finally sees him as the architect of his suffering. The reason he was bullied at school. The reason that his relationship with his biological father was strained. The reason he hasn’t celebrated Christmas with his sister since 2014. 

CORINNA (37:23): 

He said, “Why did you lie to me about mommy? I can see that mommy never stole anything from you. And why did you accuse her? Do you have any idea how painful that was for me? And, and why did you do that?” He offered no explanation. He just shrugged his shoulders. And so, it was really the most saddening meeting you can possibly imagine, because how far do you sink as such a great historical person, to be sitting in front of a minor who you raised like a father, who you profess to love, and you’re not offering any explanation as to why you put that child’s mother and Alexander himself through so many years of horrendous suffering.

MISHEL (38:13): 

But the king is not moved. In fact, he seems only intent on protecting himself, on taunting Corinna and her son. And then Juan Carlos hits a nerve.

CORINNA (38:28): 

The king was extremely provocative, especially with regards to my daughter, very inappropriate. I will not repeat what he said, but it led my son to want to go on the record with my lawyers the next day. He was profoundly shocked by things that were being said during that meeting.

MISHEL (38:50): 

Juan Carlos, with a little glimmer of delight in his eyes, shares a horrible rumor that people think he and Corinna’s 23 year-old daughter are an item. Corinna won’t talk about it. It’s a new low. And it’s clear any hope of reconciliation is gone. And when Juan Carlos eventually leaves, Corinna feels as if she barely recognises him.  

In the days after the meeting, rumors start to fly, including in the press, accusing her of attempting to blackmail King Felipe. The letter she wrote to Felipe is now used against her. The meeting, the secret recording, Juan Carlos’s cruelty – it’s a turning point for her. 

CORINNA (39:42): 

It is when you know you’ve reached a point of no return, when you become fully aware that there is no intention whatsoever on the other side to have a constructive dialogue. In fact, the other side are trying to entrap you, and they’re trying to have you commit some form of verbal explanation that they can manipulate into sounding like a blackmail. I was not expecting a completely illegal operation on British territory. In my mind, I was expecting maybe a difficult conversation, or I wasn’t expecting to reach agreement on all the points, but I was certainly expecting to have a former head of state illegally taping me in my own home. So it was a very, very sad day, very sad meeting. It’s when I realized there was really nothing left in this person’s soul that you could appeal to, just nothing. It was just dark.

MISHEL (40:38): 

A dark soul, a lost love, Power and greed have pushed Corinna into a corner. She has to do something, something more aggressive. 

CORINNA (40:54): 

At that point, we decided we needed to bring a legal case in the United Kingdom. We realized that we had nowhere else to go.

MISHEL (41:12): 

In our final episode of Corinna and the King

NEWS ANCHOR (41:15): 

Juan Carlos, the former king of Spain, has reportedly been in Abu Dhabi since leaving his country on Monday

BILL MCMURRY (41:21): 

But what became very clear is when the king gave Corinna the substantial gift that he gave her that then eventually pieces of that gift ended up in the United States which led to Corinna’s issues. 

CORINNA (41:35): 

We noticed the family sitting quite close to us. We were sitting at the far end of the restaurant in a corner.

BILL MCMURRY (41:41): 

It seemed to us that somebody of his stature and his position has taken an awfully big chance by taking all of those steps. 


MISHEL (41:51):

Corinna and the King is a production of Project Brazen in partnership with PRX. 

It’s hosted by me, Mishel Prada. Bradley Hope and Tom Wright are executive producers. Sandy Smallens is the executive producer for Audiation. Núria Net and Alex García Amat are executive producers for La Coctelera Music. Mark Lotto and Jimena Marcos are the story editors for the series. Alex García Amat is the sound design supervisor and composer. Mariángel Gonzales is senior producer. Farah Halime Hope is lead scriptwriter. Megan Dean and Soobin Kim are scriptwriters and associate producers. Ana González is a reporter for the project. Ireland Meacham is producer and Selena Seay-Reynolds is production coordinator. Francesca Gilardi Quadrio Curzio is associate producer. Lucy Woods is associate producer and head of research. Daniel Durán is editor for the English and Spanish versions, as well as sound designer. Matt Noble is editor for the English version. Matt Bentley-Viney is recordist. Joan Alonso is assistant editor. Ryan Ho is the creative director for the project. Andrija Klaric is video editor and designer. Laura Gómez is the host of the Spanish version. Translations by Paloma García Cruz. The voice actors are Eva Magaña, Ana Clements, Francine Belanger, Alex Marrero, Luis Alberto Casado, Antonio Soto Patiño and José María del Río. Additional music arranged and performed by José de Lucía with vocals by Adriana López “La Pimienta.” 

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