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INTERPOL asks UAE to arrest Ex-Spanish King's longstanding friend

January 21, 2022 at 9:27 am

Interpol’s headquarters on 19 October 2019 [FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images]

Interpol has asked authorities in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, to detain the Spanish-Lebanese arms dealer Abdul Rahman El Assir, who has been seen there in the company of Spain’s former monarch Juan Carlos I, police sources told El País.

The newspaper said El Assir, 71, is wanted by Spain and France over tax fraud and other crimes; his whereabouts had been a mystery since 2018, when he failed to show up for trial in Madrid. Two international warrants were issued for his arrest in 2019.

El País noted that Interpol’s red notice (arrest for extradition) for the immediate arrest of El Assir was processed by the international law enforcement agency’s Madrid office after Spain’s National Police activated international cooperation channels which came after the paper revealed that the arms dealer has been living in the emirate and moving about freely.

The two became acquainted in the 1980s over their passion for hunting, which eventually led to the king’s abdication in 2014 when a scandal around an elephant-hunting trip irreparably damaged the king’s standing among the Spanish public.

The former monarch has been living in exile in Abu Dhabi since 2020.

READ: Spain’s ex-king Juan Carlos is in Abu Dhabi, says ABC newspaper