Spain’s former king, Juan Carlos I, has decided to leave the country to protect the monarchy after several corruption allegations surfaced against him.
On Monday, the-scandal hit Juan Carlos announced his decision in a letter to his son and current king, Filipe VI. Juan Carlos is facing two investigations into possible money laundering and tax evasion in Switzerland and Spain.
The Swiss authorities are investigating EUR 65 million ( USD 76 million) he received from Saudi Arabia via an offshore account. The money is reportedly related to a high-speed train project in Spain.
According to Spanish media, the former king withdrew EUR 100,000 ( USD 117,000) a month in cash from his Swiss bank account between 2008 and 2012.
Spain’s Supreme Court must now determine whether there is sufficient evidence to open an investigation against him into potential money laundering and tax evasion. The Spanish government stated that law is equal for all, and it would not intervene.
In the letter announcing his excile, Juan Carlos said that he wanted his son to continue to carry out his duties with the ”tranquility and calm” needed.
Although Zarzuela Palace does not officially confirm it, the former king is believed to have moved to Cascais, a resort area close to Lisbon, Portugal, where he spent his childhood. His lawyer confirmed that he remains at the disposal of Spanish prosecutors.
Juan Carlos came to the Spanish throne in 1975 after General Franco passed away and reigned for 39 years. The Spaniards hugely respected him for his role in guiding the nation from dictatorship to democracy.
His popularity sank in later years after a series of scandals leading to his abdication in 2014. In 2012, when Spain was dealing with its worst economic crisis in decades and the youth unemployment reached 50%, the then King Juan Carlos went to a luxury safari in Botswana.
Juan Carlos, then 74, was accompanied by the German aristocrat and long-term lover, Corinna Larsen, 47. Their images appeared online, showing the monarch holding a rifle and posing next to a dead elephant.
Juan Carlos later apologized for his inappropriate behavior and reportedly asked Corinna to return him EUR 65 million ( USD 76 million) he spent on her.
Years later, his youngest daughter, Princess Cristina, and her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, were prosecuted for financial frauds in Spain. The Royal couple was proven guilty, Urdangarin got a five-year prison sentence while the Princess was stripped of her title.
What do you think? Shouldn’t the former king Juan Carlos remain in Spain facing justice?