Juan Carlos, Spain’s former monarch, has been in the United Arab Emirates since he left his country amid a growing financial scandal two weeks ago, the Spanish royal household has said, ending two weeks of speculation about his whereabouts
At 82, the former king is the target of official investigations in Spain and Switzerland into possible financial wrongdoing.
The Spanish government and Royal House officials have been tight-lipped about Juan Carlos’ location since August 3, when he published a letter to his son, King Felipe VI, that said he was moving outside Spain due to the “public repercussions of certain episodes of my past private life.”
Spanish newspaper ABC had published a photo of Juan Carlos stepping out of a plane at an airport in Abu Dhabi. But without any official confirmation, Spanish media had placed him in places as far afield as the Dominican Republic, Portugal, Switzerland or New Zealand.
Ending the swirl of speculation, a Royal House spokesman said on Monday that Juan Carlos had asked to convey that he had travelled to UAE on August 3.
“That’s where he currently remains,” the official, who wasn’t authorized to be quoted in media reports, told news agency AP, though he declined to say whether the UAE would be his permanent residence. UAE authorities have not responded to such question either.
Despite relocating, the former king has pledged via his lawyer to make himself available to prosecutors in Spain
The investigation, which is in early stages, is looking into whether he received millions of dollars in kickbacks from Saudi Arabia during the construction of a high-speed railway by a Spanish consortium. A separate Swiss judicial probe is looking into millions of euros that were allegedly given to Juan Carlos by Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah.
Juan Carlos I reigned for nearly four decades, replacing former dictator Francisco Franco as the country’s head of state in 1975, and abdicating in 2014, with the throne going to his son Felipe VI.
Felipe has not publicly spoken about his father’s departure. Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has praised the Royal House’s decision to take distance from the former king.