Former king of Spain, Juan Carlos has reportedly fled to Abu Dhabi over corruption investigations

The former king of Spain, Juan Carlos has reportedly fled to the United Arab Emirates amid corruption investigations. Photographs by Spanish media showed Juan Carlos landing in Abu Dhabi.

Corruption Charges:

Juan Carlos abdicated the throne in 2014 after nearly 40 years in power. His son Felipe became king.

He was forced to give up the throne came after a corruption investigation involving his daughter’s husband and a controversial elephant hunting trip the monarch took during Spain’s financial crisis.

In June this year, Spain’s Supreme Court launched an investigation into Juan Carlos’s alleged involvement in a high-speed rail contract in Saudi Arabia, after the ex-king lost his immunity from prosecution following his abdication.

Carlos has denied any wrongdoing and has said he would be available if prosecutors needed to interview him.

Leaving Spain:

On 3 August 2020, Juan Carlos announced he was now leaving his home country in a letter to his son.

“Guided by the conviction to best serve the people of Spain, its institutions, and you as king, I inform you of my decision at this time to leave Spain,” he wrote.

He said he made the decision “in the face of the public repercussions that certain past events in my private life are generating” and in the hope of allowing his son to carry out his functions as king with “tranquillity”.

A statement said King Felipe VI had conveyed “his heartfelt respect and gratitude” to his father for this decision.

Spain’s Reaction:

The departure has sparked a fresh debate about the role of the Spanish monarchy and the corruption allegations against Juan Carlos.

Catalonia’s parliament voted in a non-binding motion on Friday to condemn the monarchy after the ex-king’s departure.

There have been protests calling for Spain to become a republic again.

The country last removed its monarchy in 1931 before a devastating civil war which ended with the victory of dictator Francisco Franco in 1939.

The Spanish royal family and government have however been tight lipped over the whereabouts of their former king.