Spain’s royals reveal salaries for first time

By Ingrid Bazinet | AFP – dec 28, 2011
Spain’s scandal-hit royals revealed their detailed income for the first time Wednesday, showing King Juan Carlos received a salary plus expenses of 292,752 euros ($382,600) in 2011.

The 73-year-old king’s state grant of 140,519 euros was supplemented by 152,233 euros to cover expenses for official duties, said the accounts, published on the royals’ website

Prince Felipe, 43, who is married to former television news presenter Princess Letizia, had half of that figure, which would be 70,260 euros in a state grant and 76,117 euros in expenses.

All top salaries including those of the royal family were cut by 15 percent in 2010 and frozen in 2011, a palace official said.

By comparison, Spain’s former prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero who left office last week had an annual salary of 78,185 euros, far less than the king’s.

The publication of the accounts comes as Spain’s royal family battles a corruption scandal centred on the king’s son-in-law, 43-year-old former Olympic handball player Inaki Urdangarin.

Judges are investigating alleged corruption involving a charitable organisation formerly run by Urdangarin, husband of the king’s youngest daughter Cristina.

He receives no money from the state.

The royal household announced it would publish the income details of the king and his family on December 12, the same day that it said Urdangarin would no longer take part in its official activities.

“The king has no obligation under the constitution to publish his accounts. But it is a gesture of transparence brought about without a doubt due to pressure from the media, blogs and politicians which are suspicious of his son-in-law,” said Pilar Urbano who has written several books about the royals.

“While the criticism and the suspicions are not against the king or the royal household’s budget but are about business deals made by his son-in-law, he feels morally obligated to make a gesture of transparency,” she told AFP.

Spain’s economic downturn and unemployment rate of 21.52 percent had also fueled pressure for for more openness about the royals’ finances.

According to the accounts, Queen Sofia, Princess Letizia and the two princesses Cristina and Elena have no fixed sum but receive expenses for official duties, up to a global maximum of 375,000 euros in 2011.

The overall budget was already public.

The royal budget was frozen in 2010 and then cut by 470,000 euros, or 5.2 percent, to 8.43 million euros in 2011. The royals themselves had reportedly proposed the cut.

Spain’s royal family pay taxes on their income.

Juan Carlos was proclaimed king in 1975, two days after the death of dictator General Francisco Franco who had designated him as successor in 1969. He is widely respected for helping to usher in democracy after Franco’s death.

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