News Royals confirm ex-Spanish king Juan Carlos is in United Arab Emirates

Royals confirm ex-Spanish king Juan Carlos is in United Arab Emirates

Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

Former Spanish king Juan Carlos has been in the United Arab Emirates since August 3, a spokesman for the royal household says, confirming a report by state broadcaster TVE.

In a statement released on August 3, Juan Carlos had said he would leave the country for an unspecified destination after controversial aspects of his past private life came to light.

Asked on Monday whether the TVE report was correct, a spokesman for the royal household said: “That is what King Juan Carlos has told us.”

Juan Carlos, who ruled for 39 years from 1975 to 2014, fled Spain following a series of allegations that he pocketed tens of millions of dollars from a Saudi Arabian deal in an offshore Swiss bank account.

King Felipe
King Felipe sent “his heartfelt respect and gratitude” to his father for the decision. Photo: Getty

Media reports in recent weeks had claimed that he was in Portugal, others in the Dominican Republic and, the most recent ones, in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

Authorities in the United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula, have not responded to repeated questions regarding Juan Carlos’s stay in the country.

Catalan News reports that Spanish president Pedro Sánchez in July said he was open to an amendment of the constitution to limit the legal immunity of public officials, including the king.

Barcelona mayor Ada Colau called the monarchy “corrupt” and called for a referendum to remove the monarchy and install a Republic.

Juan Carlos dropped the news of his intent to leave the country to his son and current ruler King Felipe via a letter published in early August.

It’s believed former Spanish King Juan Carlos had been hiding out in a £10,000-a-night suite at the luxury Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi after fleeing amid a corruption scandal. Photo: Balkis Press/ABACA

Now 82, Juan Carlos said the “public repercussions that certain past events in my private life” was a key driver in his “well-considered decision to move away from Spain”.

The letter also stated his decision was “guided by the conviction to provide the best service to Spaniards, its institutions and to you as King”.

In addition to mounting public dissatisfaction with the monarchy, Juan Carlos was facing a Supreme Court investigation and potential prosecution for his involvement in a lucrative high-speed Saudi rail project linking cities Mecca and Medina.

The investigation was set to determine whether or not the former king profited from the €6.7 billion ($11 billion) Saudi contract, which was awarded to a number of Spanish firms.

Spanish authorities are also investigating whether the rail deal is connected to a €65 million ($106.8 million) donation from 2008 that was made to a foundation linked to Carlos by the late Saudi king Abdullah.

Swiss authorities have joined the probe, following the discovery of undeclared funds in Switzerland, allegedly belonging to the ex-king.