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


Spain’s former king, Juan Carlos I, is leaving Spain

Spain’s former king, Juan Carlos I, is leaving Spain

Spain’s former king, Juan Carlos I, is leaving Spain

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.

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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.

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