Former king of Spain leaves country amid allegations of financial misconduct

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Former Spanish king Juan Carlos I is leaving Spain for another, unspecified country after an investigation accused him of hiding millions of dollars offered to him by Saudi Arabia, said Monday the royal family.

The announcement was made in a letter on the Royal Family’s website written by Juan Carlos for his son, King Felipe VI.

In the letter, Juan Carlos said he made the decision against the background of “public repercussions from certain episodes in my past private life”.

FILE: Former King of Spain Juan Carlos salutes the arenas of Aranjuez, Spain.
(AP)

Juan Carlos said he did not want to make the role of his son difficult, adding that “my heritage and my own dignity demand that it be so”. It is not known where Juan Carlos is currently located.

Spain’s prime minister recently said he found the developments concerning Juan Carlos – including the investigations in Spain and Switzerland – “disturbing”.

Since the Spanish Supreme Court opened its investigation earlier this year, Spanish media have published damaging testimony from a separate Swiss investigation into millions of euros allegedly given to Juan Carlos by the late King Abdullah of Arabia. Arabia.

Reports accused Juan Carlos of then transferring a large sum to Corinna Larsen, a Danish-German businesswoman and former companion, in what investigators see as a possible attempt to hide the money from authorities.

The 82-year-old former king is credited with helping Spain peacefully restore democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

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But marred by scandals in the last years of his reign, Juan Carlos abdicated in 2014 in favor of his son Felipe VI, losing the immunity from prosecution that the Spanish constitution grants the head of state.

After media claimed that Felipe was a beneficiary of an offshore account holding the equivalent of $ 76 million from Saudi Arabia to Juan Carlos, Felipe waived any future personal inheritance he might receive from the former King.

The royal household denied that Felipe had any knowledge of his father’s alleged financial irregularities. The royal website said in a statement that Felipe had respected his father’s decision.

Felipe recognized the historical significance of his father’s reign, the statement said, but also “reaffirmed the principles and values ​​on which it was based, within the framework of our constitution and the rest of our legal system.”

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The decision to leave Spain means Juan Carlos will leave the 17th-century Zarzuela Palace in Madrid, his home for more than 50 years. He moved there after marrying the former queen, Sofia, in 1963.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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