For­mer king Juan Car­los (82) to leave Spain amid fi­nan­cial scandal

Irish Independent - - World News - Barry Hat­ton LIS­BON

SPAIN’S for­mer monarch, Juan Car­los I, is leav­ing Spain to live in an­other, un­spec­i­fied, coun­try amid a fi­nan­cial scandal, ac­cord­ing to a let­ter pub­lished on the royal fam­ily’s web­site yes­ter­day.

The let­ter from Juan Car­los to his son, King Felipe VI, said: “I am in­form­ing you of my con­sid­ered de­ci­sion to move, dur­ing this pe­riod, out of Spain.”

Juan Car­los (82), in the let­ter, said he made the de­ci­sion against the back­drop of “pub­lic reper­cus­sions of cer­tain episodes of my past pri­vate life”.

He said he wanted to en­sure he doesn’t make his son’s role dif­fi­cult, adding that “my legacy, and my own dig­nity, de­mand that it should be so”.

Last night, Juan Car­los’ where­abouts were not known.

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

Since Spain’s Supreme Court be­gan its in­ves­ti­ga­tion ear­lier this year, Span­ish me­dia out­lets have pub­lished dam­ag­ing tes­ti­mony from a sep­a­rate Swiss probe into mil­lions of eu­ros that were al­legedly given to Juan Car­los by Saudi Ara­bia’s late King Ab­dul­lah.

Juan Car­los al­legedly then trans­ferred a large amount to a for­mer com­pan­ion in what in­ves­ti­ga­tors are con­sid­er­ing as a pos­si­ble at­tempt to hide the money from au­thor­i­ties.

The com­pan­ion, Corinna Larsen, is a Dan­ish-Ger­man busi­ness­woman long linked by Span­ish me­dia to the for­mer king. Span­ish pros­e­cu­tors have asked her to pro­vide tes­ti­mony in the case next month.

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

But marred by scan­dals in the later years of his reign, Juan Car­los in 2014 ab­di­cated in favour of his son Felipe VI, los­ing the im­mu­nity from pros­e­cu­tion Spain’s con­sti­tu­tion grants to the head of state.

Af­ter me­dia re­ports claimed Felipe was a ben­e­fi­ciary of an off­shore ac­count hold­ing an al­leged €65m from Saudi Ara­bia to Juan Car­los, Felipe re­nounced any fu­ture per­sonal in­her­i­tance he might re­ceive from the for­mer king. Felipe also stripped his fa­ther of his an­nual stipend of €194,232. The royal house has de­nied that Felipe had any knowl­edge of his fa­ther’s al­leged fi­nan­cial irregulari­ties. The royal web­site said in a state­ment that Felipe re­spected his fa­ther’s de­ci­sion. Spain’s for­mer king, Juan Car­los I, is leav­ing Spain

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