Spain | Former King Juan Carlos is still surrounded by an investigation into his murky fortune

(Madrid) On August 3, 2020, the former King of Spain Juan Carlos left his country to go into golden exile in the Emirates. A year later, the legal investigation into his departure is still going on and is holding back his possible return.

Posted on Aug 2, 2021 at 12:37 pm

Daniel SILVA Agence France-Presse

The 83-year-old ex-monarch then declared that he wanted to “facilitate” his son Felipe VI’s “exercise” of his functions in view of the “public consequences of certain past events in (his) private life.

Connections to the Gulf monarchies

But his target, the United Arab Emirates, had been criticized even more, as his ties to the Gulf monarchies are at the center of suspicions of his opaque fortune.

Juan Carlos is the subject of investigations in Spain and Switzerland, where the judiciary wants to clarify whether he pocketed a commission in 2011 in connection with the award of a contract to Spanish companies to build a high-speed train in Saudi Arabia.

At the center of this case is a transfer of 100 million dollars that he allegedly received in 2008 from the former Saudi King Abdullah to an account in Switzerland.

Targeted by two other legal investigations in Spain, Juan Carlos tried to avoid criminal prosecution by making two voluntary declarations to the tax office totaling more than 5 million euros since the end of 2020.

But the judiciary has not yet made a decision and the tax authorities have also launched an investigation to determine the origin of these funds.

Juan Carlos has not yet been charged with any criminal offense. But these investigations have further tarnished the standing of this key figure in the transition to democracy after the end of Franco’s dictatorship in 1975, which abdicated in 2014, when revelations about his private life were already mounting.

The celebrations for the 40th anniversary of the failed military coup of February 23, 1981, which he contributed to the defeat, must have taken place that year in his absence.

Paradise island

If the details of the investigation against him continue to filter through the Spanish press, Juan Carlos will have been out of the limelight for a year on the paradise island of Nurai, where he lives and where his daughters Elena and Cristina visit him regularly.

In February, he gave a single interview to reassure the online media, OKDiario, that he was in good health and exercising “two hours a day” after photos were posted of two bodyguards helping him walk.

In order to preserve the image of the monarchy, Felipe VI distanced himself. from his father, whose inheritance he renounced last year and from whom he withheld his annual pocket money of almost 200,000 euros.

And according to José Apezarena, author of several books on Felipe VI, he does not want to give the return of his father the green light.

“He is alone and bored”

Usually very sociable. “Juan Carlos is alone and bored” in the Emirates, the journalist emphasizes. “He wants to come back and has explained it to his son,” but “the position of the royal palace” should not allow him to return “as long as his problems with the judiciary are not over.”

On the other hand, Abel Hernández, another royal affairs specialist, believes Juan Carlos could return until “the end of the year” to put an end to what he said was an “anomaly”.

“It is the king who brought democracy back to Spain”, he is not charged and “has settled his situation with the tax authorities, so it does not seem entirely normal for him to stay outside Spain,” he says.

Juan Carlos’ problems have given arguments to supporters of the abolition of the monarchy, such as the far-left Podemos party, a member of the ruling coalition that is calling for a parliamentary commission of inquiry. An initiative blocked by the socialists led by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and the right.

Two surveys at the beginning of the year showed that support for the monarchy has increased since the exile of Juan Carlos and has increased again by the majority.

But according to a poll published on Sunday by the right-wing daily La Razón, 42.9% of Spaniards still believe that the former king’s problems are damaging his son’s rule.

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