Meet baby-faced Little Nicolas: The man who tricked the whole of Spain

'Little Nicolas' shaking the hand of the new king, Felipe VI, at the Royal Palace last June
'Little Nicolas' shaking the hand of the new king, Felipe VI, at the Royal Palace last June

Baby-faced law student or international man of mystery?

Both. Intrigue surrounding a Spanish university student alleged to have committed a number of high-profile fraud offences has intensified following a series of extraordinary claims made by the suspected conman. Francisco Nicolas Gomez Iglesias, known as “Little Nicolas”, was arrested last month on charges of forgery, fraud and identity theft.

What is the young pretender supposed to have done?

Little Nicolas, 20, is thought to have defrauded dozens of people, allegedly forging official documents and passing himself off as a high-ranking official from the ruling Partido Popular (PP); an adviser to Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria; and an agent of the country’s secret service, the National Intelligence Centre.

What new claims has he made?

“King Juan Carlos has called and texted me,” the alleged fraudster told Spain’s Un Tiempo Nuevo programme. “The last time we spoke was the day of his abdication. I sent him a text and he replied, saying: ‘Huge thanks for your words, hugs JC.’”

Hugs? Doesn’t sound very regal

The enigmatic mover and shaker further confounded the public – and the authorities – by adding that he had “sensitive material which could impact all institutions of the state”. Unfortunately, he said, he could not produce the material to back up his claims because the police had confiscated his phone.

I smell a rat

The Spanish government, the Deputy Prime Minister and the PP have all denied employing Little Nicolas. However, over the past few months photos and videos have been emerging online showing him in the company of royalty and politicians.

Curiouser and curiouser

His story has certainly transfixed the Spanish public. Internet users have taken to superimposing images of Little Nicolas on to photos of famous scenes in film or history to imply ever more ludicrous scenarios, from sitting next to Jesus at the Last Supper to encountering Darth Vader.

More: Meet the man hoping to become the Green Party's second MP

The Conversation (0)