Spain’s enigma on the whereabouts of former King Juan Carlos


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Reuters

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Juan Carlos is under investigation in Spain as well as in Switzerland

There is intense speculation in Spanish media about the whereabouts of former Spain’s King Juan Carlos, leaving his country on Monday after his shock announcement.

The 82-year-old, who is the subject of a corruption investigation, announced the move in a letter on the royal website.

It did not provide any details about his destination, but some reports suggest that he has been to the Dominican Republic.

However, officials said they had no idea that he was coming.

A spokesman for the Caribbean nation’s immigration service said it had not entered the country despite reports coming on Tuesday. But she said that she was there for a few days from late February to early March.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says he does not know where the former king is.

In his letter, Juan Carlos stated that he would be available if prosecutors wanted to talk to him.

In June, Spain’s Supreme Court opened an investigation into Saudi Arabia for their alleged involvement in a high-speed rail contract.

BBC Europe correspondent Nick Beke says it is disgraceful for a king who once agreed to go down in history, who inspired Spain to guide democracy after the death of General Franco in 1975 did.

In 2014, Juan Carlos gave up and handed over to his son Felipe.

What do the Spanish media say?

The newspapers give various details about the visit of the former king.

La Vanguardia says he flew to Portugal on Monday morning, and was planning to fly to the Dominican Republic to be with friends.

ABC, another daily, said he was already in the Dominican Republic. But El Confidential said it could be in Portugal, France or Italy.

Meanwhile El Pais has so far avoided speculating about Juan Carlos’ whereabouts.

In Portugal, the media said that it was in the resort cities of Estoril or Cascae.

There are no reports from the Dominican Republic that he is in the Caribbean country.

What did the letter say?

In the letter, the former emperor wrote that he was leaving “in the face of public consequences that some past events in my personal life are arising” and that his son should “perform” his tasks as king with “peace” In the hope of giving permission. ” .

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EPA

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King Felipe VI (right) trying to distance himself from his father Juan Carlos

The statement of the Czaruela palace states that King Felipe VI expressed “heartfelt respect and gratitude” to his father for this decision.

In March, King Felipe VI renounced his father’s legacy.

The royal palace also said at the time that Juan Carlos would stop receiving an annual grant of € 194,000 ($ 228,000; £ 174,520).

What have prominent politicians been saying?

Prime Minister Sanchez addressed the media after a cabinet meeting and emphasized the government’s “full respect” for Juan Carlos’ decision to relocate abroad.

In Spain, people were required to do justice, not institutions. The country always needed “stability and strong institutions” that came with “transparency and uplift”.

But the move has led to tensions with the Prime Minister’s leftist coalition partner, Podemos.

Spain’s equality minister Irene Montero said that Podemos was not aware of any negotiations between the royal family and the government.

She said that the Spanish royal family went into a “very compromised and fragile situation” with the departure of Juan Carlos and that the Spanish people “would not accept more corruption or more debility”.

What about corruption investigation?

The Supreme Court of Spain has stated that its purpose is to establish a relationship with Juan Carlos with the contract of Saudi Arabia.

Spanish firms won a € 6.7bn (£ 6bn) deal to build the Mecca-Medina rail link.

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Media captionJuan Carlos abdicated in 2014

Swiss banks are also involved in the investigation.

Spain’s anti-corruption officials suspect that the former king held some undisclosed funds in Switzerland, and a Swiss investigation is underway.

The Spanish government has said that “justice is the same for all” and that it “will not interfere” in the inquiry.

King Juan Carlos

  • Born in Rome, Italy in 1938
  • Ascended the throne on 22 November 1975, two days after the death of fascist dictator General Francisco Franco
  • Juan Carlos was widely praised for steering Spain to democracy during difficult times
  • But towards the end of his 39-year reign, he attracted increasing criticism.
  • Abdicates in favor of his son Felipe on 18 June 2014