Spanish court dismisses Belgian woman's paternity suit against ex-king

MADRID (AFP) - The Spanish Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a paternity suit against the former king of Spain, Juan Carlos, by a Belgian woman claiming to be his daughter, a judicial source said.

Ingrid Sartiau claims that Juan Carlos fathered her in the mid-1960s, in the first lawsuit filed against the 77-year-old since he lost his total immunity when he abdicated last June.

The court in January agreed to examine the claim by Sartiau, a housewife reportedly in her late 40s. But Juan Carlos's lawyers appealed for the case to be dropped and the Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld that demand.

Sartiau had in addition demanded that Juan Carlos undergo a DNA test, but the Supreme Court also turned down that request, the source said.

Juan Carlos took the throne in 1975 after the death of the dictator Francisco Franco and reigned for 39 years. He married Queen Sofia in 1962 and they had two daughters and a son, the current King Felipe VI.

The only tribunal that could potentially hear a fresh appeal against Wednesday's ruling is the Constitutional Court.

Juan Carlos handed the crown last year to Felipe, 47, hoping to freshen the monarchy's image after his last years on the throne saw the monarchy plunged into scandal.

His youngest daughter Cristina, 49, has been ordered to stand trial in a fraud investigation focussing on her husband's business affairs.

Juan Carlos also sparked outrage in 2012 for going on an elephant-hunting trip to Botswana at the height of Spain's economic crisis.