Former Spanish King Juan Carlos goes into exile in Dominican Republic as scandal swirls

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The ex-king’s surprise exit has left the Spaniards divided over whether he should have stayed to face justice.

Juan Carlos, former King of Spain, is seen at the helm of the yacht “Bribon” before the start of the second Breitling regatta off Palma de Mallorca on July 21, 2006. JAIME REINA / AFP via Getty Images

He ascended to the throne in 1975 after the death of General Francisco Franco and has been widely respected for his role in helping guide Spain from dictatorship to democracy, but recent scandals have tarnished his image. “I think he runs away like a coward. He should admit what he did and be frank, ”said Paz Rodriguez, a resident of Madrid.

Retiree Santiago Pradas was more understanding. “They are not fair. There are many politicians, many parties, who have stolen three times as much, ”he said.

DOMINICAN EXILE?

Juan Carlos’ lawyer said on Monday that the ex-king was “at the disposal” of prosecutors. Neither the lawyer nor the Royal Household have commented on whether Juan Carlos has left Spain or where he is. Via his lawyer, the ex-king has repeatedly refused to comment on the corruption allegations.

Juan Carlos, former King of Spain, right, greets King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at the Royal Palace in Madrid on July 15, 2008. The Spanish Supreme Court announced in June 2020 the opening of an investigation to determine whether the former King Juan Carlos was blamed for an alleged corruption case when Saudi Arabia entrusted the construction of the Mecca TGV to a Spanish consortium. PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP via Getty Images

La Vanguardia said Juan Carlos, who retains the title of King Emeritus, left the palace on Sunday, before driving to Portugal on Monday and flying to the Dominican Republic.

The former monarch plans to stay a few weeks with a family who made their fortune in the sugar cane plantations, before seeking a new destination, the newspaper said, without citing a source.

ABC newspaper also said Juan Carlos visited the Caribbean country. However, El Confidencial said it was in Portugal, not far from Lisbon, and the royal palace could confirm its location later on Tuesday.

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