Former Spanish king Juan Carlos will leave the country, the royal palace said, weeks after being linked with an investigation into corruption allegations.
Juan Carlos, 82, made the announcement in a letter to his son, Felipe, to whom he handed over power six years ago.
He said he would be available if prosecutors needed to question him.
In June, the Spanish Supreme Court opened an investigation into the alleged involvement of Juan Carlos in a high-speed train contract in Saudi Arabia.
It was not immediately clear when the former monarch would leave Spain and where he would reside.
It’s a humiliating outing for a king who seemed poised to make history as the leader who skillfully guided Spain from dictatorship to democracy after General Franco’s death in 1975, the BBC correspondent said. Europe Nick Beake.
Juan Carlos abdicated in 2014 after nearly 40 years as king following a corruption investigation involving his daughter’s husband and a controversial elephant hunting trip the monarch took during the crisis financial in Spain.
What did the letter say?
In the letter, the former monarch wrote that he was making the decision “in the face of the public repercussions that certain past events in my private life have engendered” and in the hope of allowing his son to perform his duties as king with ” tranquility ”.
“Guided by the conviction to best serve the Spanish people, their institutions and you as King, I inform you of my decision at this time to leave Spain.
“A decision that I take with deep emotion but with great serenity,” said the letter.
The Zarzuela Palace statement said King Felipe VI had expressed “deep respect and gratitude” to his father for this decision.
In March, King Felipe VI renounced his father’s inheritance. The royal palace also said at the time that Juan Carlos would stop receiving an annual grant of € 194,000 ($ 228,000; £ 174,520).
What is the investigation for corruption?
The Spanish Supreme Court said it aimed to establish Juan Carlos’ connection with the Saudi project after his abdication in June 2014. At that point, he lost his immunity from prosecution.
Spanish companies have won a 6.7 billion euros (£ 6 billion) contract to build a Mecca-Medina rail link.
The survey also concerns Swiss banks.
Spanish anti-corruption officials suspect the former king of keeping undeclared funds in Switzerland and a Swiss investigation is underway.
The Spanish government has declared that “justice is equal for all” and that it “will not interfere” with the investigation.
Roi Juan Carlos
- Born in Rome, Italy, in 1938
- Ascended to the throne on November 22, 1975, two days after the death of fascist dictator Gen Francisco Franco
- Juan Carlos has been widely admired for leading Spain towards democracy during a difficult time
- But towards the end of his 39-year reign, he drew more and more criticism.
- Abdique on June 18, 2014 in favor of his son Felipe