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Spain’s scandal-hit former king Juan Carlos flees

By People Daily
Wednesday, August 5th, 2020
In this file photo taken on May 22, 2004 Juan Carlos of Spain and his wife Queen Sofia of Spain salute the crowd from the balcony of the Oriental Palace in Madrid. Photo/AFP
In summary
    • Letter, published on the royal palace’s website, did not mention where the former king would go, nor when exactly he would leave the country.
    • Former head of state has been under a cloud since various media reported that he allegedly received funds from Saudi Arabia and probes are now under way in both Switzerland and Spain.

Madrid, Tuesday

Spain’s former king Juan Carlos, at the centre of an alleged $100-million corruption scandal, has reportedly fled to the Dominican Republic after his shock announcement he was going into exile.

The 82-year-old revealed on Monday that he had taken the decision to leave Spain to help his son, the current King Felipe VI, “exercise his responsibilities”.

The letter, published on the royal palace’s website, did not mention where the former king would go, nor when exactly he would leave the country.

But on Tuesday, daily newspaper ABC reported that he left Spain on Sunday and flew to the Dominican Republic via Portugal.

The La Vanguardia and El Mundo dailies similarly said he planned to stay with friends in the Caribbean country, but online newspaper El Confidencial said he could be in Portugal, where he spent part of his youth, or in France or Italy.

Asked by AFP about the reports, a royal palace spokesman refused to give any information about Juan Carlos’s whereabouts. 

“The only information we have is the information which was published on the website of the royal palace yesterday.

It is the only information which we have,” he said.

The ex-king’s lawyer, Javier Sanchez-Junco, issued a statement Monday saying his client was not trying to escape justice by going into exile and would remain available to prosecutors.

Popular for decades

The former head of state has been under a cloud since various media reported that he allegedly received funds from Saudi Arabia and probes are now under way in both Switzerland and Spain.

Spain’s Supreme Court announced in June an investigation to determine the legal responsibility of the ex-monarch -- but only for acts committed after his abdication in 2014, because of the immunity he holds.

The suspicions centre on $100 million (85 million euros) allegedly paid secretly into a Swiss bank account in 2008.

After a series of media revelations, Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez spoke out in July saying “the entire Spanish population are receiving disturbing information which is troubling for us all, including me”.