Spain's Former King Is Embroiled in a Financial Scandal — and He Left the Country
King Juan Carlos I abdicated the throne back in 2014.
King Juan Carlos I, the former monarch of Spain, says that he's leaving the country as news breaks of his involvement in a financial scandal, Time reports.
"I am informing you of my considered decision to move, during this period, out of Spain," reads a letter that Juan Carlos wrote to his son, King Felipe VI. Additionally, the letter states that the decision was made after Juan Carlos considered the "public repercussions of certain episodes of my past private life."
Part of why he's leaving, he insists, is to make Felipe's position as king easier by removing any possibility of tension or scandal. Juan Carlos didn't mention where he would be moving.
"A year ago, I expressed my will and desire to stop performing institutional activities. Now, guided by the conviction to perform the best service to the Spanish people, their institutions and you as King, I am communicating my thoughtful decision to move, at this time, outside of Spain," he added. "A decision I make with sadness, but with great serenity. I have been King of Spain for almost forty years and, during all of them, I have always wanted the best for Spain and for the Crown."
The decision doesn't brand him as an escaped convict, however. Javier Sánchez-Junco Mans, Juan Carlos's lawyer, told Time that the former ruler would cooperate with any future investigations, no matter where he's living. Juan Carlos is credited with bringing Spain into a democracy after the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.
"The King wishes to emphasize the historical importance that his father's reign represents, his legacy and his political and institutional work for Spain and democracy; and at the same time he wants to reaffirm the principles and values on which it (Spain's democracy) is based," a press release from King Felipe reads, according to CNN.
Spanish newspapers recently published testimony from a Swiss investigation that found millions of Euros — about $76 million — "that were allegedly given to Juan Carlos by Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah," Time wrote. Juan Carlos allegedly transferred large amounts of money to a "former companion," which investigators saw as an attempt to hide the transaction.
After the news broke, Felipe stated that he would renounce all future inheritances from the former king and stripped him of his annual stipend, which was about $228,000. Spain's royal house also insists that it was unaware of Juan Carlos's supposed dealings with King Abdullah.