Spain's Ex-King Juan Carlos Sails Into Exile After Financial Scandal

Published August 4th, 2020 - 06:53 GMT
King Felipe pictured with former king Juan Carlos and Spain's Queen Letizia at the Spanish National day military parade in Madrid on October 12, 2012. (AFP)
King Felipe pictured with former king Juan Carlos and Spain's Queen Letizia at the Spanish National day military parade in Madrid on October 12, 2012. (AFP)
Spain's PM recently said he found developments about Juan Carlos 'disturbing'

Spain's former monarch, King Juan Carlos I, has announced he is leaving Spain to live in another country amid a financial scandal.

Former king Juan Carlos told his son, King Felipe, that he decided to leave Spain, the royal house said in a statement on Monday.

On Monday night it emerged the former King of Spain had already left the country.

Well-placed sources close to the Spanish Royal Household confirmed he was no longer in Spain. 

It comes on the back of a series of scandals involving the long-serving monarch, who abdicated in June 2014 after four decades on the throne.

His reputation has nosedived since his abdication with continuing rumours about lovers, corruption and Swiss bank accounts.

Spanish authorities are currently investigating whether he received a secret commission for helping to win a £5.5 billion Saudi rail deal after a former mistress made the allegations privately. 

It is not clear where the former king will move to, although sources in Spain have speculated the Dominican Republic could be one possible country. 

The royal family's website on Monday published a letter from Juan Carlos to his son, King Felipe VI, saying 'I am informing you of my considered decision to move, during this period, out of Spain.' 

Spain's prime minister recently said he found the developments about Juan Carlos - including investigations in Spain and Switzerland - 'disturbing.' 

In June, Spain's Supreme Court opened an investigation into Juan Carlos' involvement with a high-speed rail contract in Saudi Arabia after Switzerland's La Tribune de Geneve newspaper reported he had received $100 million from the late Saudi King.

Juan Carlos allegedly then transferred a large amount to a former companion in what investigators are considering as a possible attempt to hide the money from authorities. 

Through his lawyer, Juan Carlos, 82, has repeatedly declined to comment on the allegations.

The former King said in a letter to his son, made public today: 'Guided by my conviction I can offer the best service to Spaniards, its institutions and to you as King, I am communicating my decision to move away from Spain.

'It's a decision I am taking with deep feeling but with great serenity.

'I have been King of Spain for almost 40 years and during that whole time, I've always wanted the best for Spain and for the Crown.'


He signed off the letter: 'With affection as always, your father.'

Spanish TV analysts immediately dubbed the former monarch's announcement he was quitting Spain as a 'back-door' exit.

Journalist Gema Lopez insisted his decision should not prevent a full investigation into Juan Carlos's business activities going ahead.

She added: 'The day he dies, I am not sure the historical revisionism of how he has acted will be as favourable as it has been up to now.'

She also questioned whether he could ever receive a state funeral.

Juan Carlos I reigned as King of Spain from 1975 to 2014 when he abdicated in favour of his son Felipe VI.

He has three children with his wife of 75 years Sofia. Their relationship since his abdication is said to have been virtually non-existent and it has been claimed they last shared a bed more than 40 years ago. 

Barcelona-based author Pilar Eyre, an expert on the Spanish royal family, made an explosive claim about Juan Carlos and Diana in a book she published in 2012.

She said the Spanish monarch made a pass at her during a holiday Diana and Charles spent with their son at the king's summer palace in Majorca in 1986.

According to Eyre, the king made a 'tactile' advance to Diana, then just 25.

Diana herself denied anything untoward had happened but admitted that while the libidinous king was 'charming' he could be a 'little too attentive.'

Juan Carlos had to make a grovelling apology in April 2012 over a controversial elephant hunting trip to Botswana at the height of Spain's economic crisis.

The trip came to light after he broke his hip in a fall and had to be flown back to Madrid for surgery

Belgian housewife Ingrid Sartiau launched a paternity suit against Juan Carlos shortly after his abdication, claiming her mum told her: 'That man's your father' when he flashed up on TV before revealing details to her of a one-night stand in Luxembourg in 1966.

Spain's Supreme Court announced in March 2015 it had refused to accept Ingrid's lawsuit.

Juan Carlos's health is said to be 'very delicate.'

A formal announcement on the former Spanish King's future is expected after his son and ex-journalist wife Letizia Ortiz finish a national tour designed partly to boost Spanish tourism.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia travelled to Benidorm at the start of the month and met British tourists on a meet-and-greet in the famous Costa Blanca resort.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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