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Former King Juan Carlos leaves Spain for unknown destination

August 4, 2020 at 1:14 pm

Juan Carlos I, the then King of Spain, seen at the International Charlemagne Prize of the city of Aachen, in 2007 [Aleph / Wikimedia]

Spain’s former King Juan Carlos has left the country for an unknown destination just weeks after he was linked to an inquiry into alleged corruption. The news was revealed in a letter published by the Royal House on Monday.

Juan Carlos, 82, announced his intention to move in a letter to his son, King Felipe VI, to whom he handed the throne six years ago. He told the current monarch that he would be available if prosecutors needed to interview him, BBC Europe has reported. Spain’s Supreme Court prosecutor opened an investigation in June in connection with a high-speed railway contract in Saudi Arabia.

Juan Carlos was popular for his role in the country’s transition from fascism to democracy in the late 1970s, before various scandals eroded public approval a decade ago and forced him to pass the throne to his son. The investigation into the former king derived from another probe into the second phase of a high-speed railway linking the cities of Makkah and Madinah in Saudi Arabia, the contract for which was granted to a group of Spanish companies in 2011.

In mid-March, King Felipe said that he had renounced any inheritance from his father and ended his palace allowance following allegations of secret offshore accounts. Felipe’s decision followed reports in Switzerland’s La Tribune de Geneve that when he was king, Juan Carlos allegedly received $100 million from Saudi Arabia. The Royal House declined to comment.

The newspaper added that Juan Carlos later gave $65 million to Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, a businesswoman with whom he had a relationship that led to his abdication. Her representatives declined to comment at the time.

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