Spain wonders where ex-king Juan Carlos is

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Reuters

Legend
Juan Carlos is under investigation in Spain, as well as in Switzerland


There is intense speculation in the Spanish media about the fate of besieged ex-King Juan Carlos, after his shocking announcement on Monday that he was leaving the country.

The 82-year-old, the subject of a corruption probe, announced the move in a letter posted on the royal website.

He gave no details about his destination, but some reports suggest he went to the Dominican Republic.

Juan Carlos said he would be available if prosecutors needed to speak to him.

In June, Spain’s Supreme Court opened an investigation into his alleged involvement in a high-speed train contract in Saudi Arabia.

According to BBC Europe correspondent Nick Beake, it is a humiliating outing for a king who once seemed poised to make history as the ruler who skillfully guided Spain to democracy after the death of the General Franco in 1975.

In 2014, Juan Carlos abdicated and handed over to his son Felipe.

What are the Spanish media saying?

The newspapers give various accounts of the journeys of the former king.

La Vanguardia says he went to Portugal early on Monday and was planning to fly to the Dominican Republic to stay with friends.

ABC, another daily, said it was already in the Dominican Republic. But El Confidencial said he could be in Portugal, France or Italy.

El Pais, meanwhile, has so far refrained from speculating on the fate of Juan Carlos.

In Portugal, the media said he was in the seaside towns of Estoril or Cascais.

There is no report from the Dominican Republic indicating that it is in the Caribbean country.

What did the letter say?

In the letter, the former monarch wrote that he was leaving “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 “peace of mind” .

Image copyright
EPA

Legend

King Felipe VI (right) tries to distance himself from his father Juan Carlos


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?

Spain’s Supreme Court has said it aims to establish Juan Carlos’ connection to Saudi Arabia’s contract after his abdication.

Spanish companies have won a 6.7 billion euros (£ 6 billion) contract to build a Mecca-Medina rail link.

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Media captionJuan Carlos abdicated in 2014

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

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