A LEADING French newspaper has claimed Spain’s monarchy is “trembling” over revelations that the former king, Juan Carlos I, held a $1 million (£766,300) bank account in Switzerland, which is now at the centre of money-laundering claims.

Le Monde said the disclosure of the information last week had divided partners in the Spanish coalition government, with Catalan pro-independence parties and Unidas Podemos (Spanish for united we can) demanding a parliamentary inquiry.

However, it said the socialist party (PSOE) of the prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, has dismissed their demands and defended the former king.

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Le Monde reported the Spanish judiciary has asked Switzerland for details of Juan Carlos’s bank account. The monarch lost total immunity in 2014 when he abdicated the throne to his son, Felipe VI.

The story was first broken by the Swiss daily the Tribune de Geneve, and subsequently reported by The National and other international titles. According to the French daily Le Figaro: “The issue of Juan Carlos’s hidden money is bringing unrest to the country,” while it pointed out “the exquisite discretion” of the Spanish press over the matter.

The National: Juan Carlos's son, King Felipe VI of Spain, talks to Prince WilliamJuan Carlos's son, King Felipe VI of Spain, talks to Prince William

The Madrid correspondent for Belgium’s Francophone Radio and Television said the revelations “have been met with an annoying silence from the Spanish press”. However, they added: “The sums involved are so important that it will be difficult for the media and politicians to ignore this affair.”

At the time of the alleged events, Juan Carlos had immunity, which would make it difficult for a prosecution to be launched, but this will further tarnish his reputation.

The German paper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published an in-depth report on the affair under the headline “Scandal in the Spanish royal house”, focusing on the Swiss bank account loaded with Saudi Arabian cash.

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Catalan daily El Punt Avui, said it had reopened the debate on Spain’s monarch in an editorial headlined “The murky affair of Juan Carlos I”.

It said the bottom line was institutional responsibility, arguing the former king used “his privileged position to enrich himself in collusion with the economic activity, public or private, of the state.”

Juan Carlos has previously been accused of accumulating a secret fortune hidden in several Swiss bank accounts under the name of his cousin, Alvaro d’Orleans-Borbon.