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Spain former king Juan Carlos I leaves country amid financial scandal

Spain former king Juan Carlos I leaves country amid financial scandal

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The former king of Spain has skipped town amid a financial scandal — and his whereabouts are currently unknown.

Ex-monarch Juan Carlos I wrote in a letter to his son, King Felipe VI, that he decided to leave for another country “in the face of the public repercussions of certain episodes of my past private life.”

“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,” it states.

The letter was published on the royal family’s website Monday.

Juan Carlos, 82, is credited with helping Spain peacefully restore democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

But the later years of his reign were marred by scandal, and he abdicated the throne in 2014 amid public scrutiny — including over an elephant-hunting trip to Botswana that he took as the country was devastated by a financial crisis.

Spain’s Supreme Court opened a probe into the ex-king’s financial dealings earlier this year.

A statement from Spain’s general prosecutor’s office in June said it was investigating whether Juan Carlos received millions of dollars in kickbacks from Saudi Arabia during the construction of a high-speed railway there by a Spanish consortium.

Local outlets have since published bombshell testimony as part of a separate Swiss investigation into millions of dollars that the royal allegedly got from Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah.

The former monarch then allegedly transferred large sums to a former companion, Danish-German businesswoman Corinna Larsen — something investigators consider a possible attempt to hide the cash from authorities.

After media reports claimed Felipe was a beneficiary of an offshore account holding an alleged $75 million gift from Saudi Arabia to Juan Carlos, the king in March renounced any future personal inheritance he might receive from his dad and cut off his father’s annual $228,000 stipend.

The royal house has denied that Felipe had any knowledge of his dad’s alleged financial issues. It said in a statement that the king respected his dad’s decision to leave.

Despite Juan Carlos’ finances being questioned in Spanish media for years, there have so far been no legal implications.

In his letter to his son, he said he doesn’t want to make Felipe’s role difficult, adding: “my legacy, and my own dignity, demand that it should be so.”

With Post wires

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James Thompson

James Thompson has worked in various news organizations and now aims to make Report Door one of the best and fastest growing news websites in the U.S. He contributes to the US and World sections.

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