Spain Drops Investigation of Former King's Finances

Juan Carlos I left Spain amid scandal in 2020
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 3, 2020 2:22 PM CDT
Updated Mar 2, 2022 3:37 PM CST
He Was King of Spain. Now He's Leaving the Country
In this photo dated Sunday, June 2, 2019, Spain's former King Juan Carlos waves at the bullring in Aranjuez, Spain.   (AP Photo/Andrea Comas, FILE)

(Newser) Update: Spain's former king is off the hook in an alleged fraud case. Prosecutors say investigations of 84-year-old Juan Carlos, who moved to the United Arab Emirates amid a financial scandal in 2020, have been dropped due to a lack of evidence, Reuters reports. They say they couldn't prove a link between a $72 million payment to the former king and the awarding of a lucrative Saudi Arabian rail contract. Juan Carlos has paid more than $5 mllion in back taxes in connection with the case. Swiss investigators have already dropped a similar case. In a statement, the Spanish prosecutor's office said the former monarch's suspicious financial dealings were outside the statute of limitations—and as monarch at the time, he would have had immunity. Our original story from Aug. 3, 2020 follows:

Spain’s former monarch, King Juan Carlos I, says he is leaving Spain to live in another country amid a financial scandal. The royal family’s website on Monday published a letter from Juan Carlos to his son, King Felipe VI, saying, “I am informing you of my considered decision to move, during this period, out of Spain.” Juan Carlos, in the letter, says he made the decision against the backdrop of “public repercussions of certain episodes of my past private life.” He says he wants to ensure he doesn’t make his son’s role difficult, adding that “my legacy and my own dignity, demand that it should be so.” He did not say which country he will be moving to, reports the AP.

Since Spain’s Supreme Court opened its probe earlier this year, Spanish media outlets have published damaging testimony from a separate Swiss investigation into an alleged $76 million gift to Juan Carlos by Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah. Juan Carlos allegedly then transferred a large amount to a former companion in what investigators say might have been an attempt to hide the money from authorities. The 82-year-old former king is credited with helping Spain peacefully restore democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975. But marred by scandals in the later years of his reign, Juan Carlos in 2014 abdicated in favor of his son Felipe VI, losing the inviolability protection Spain’s Constitution grants to the head of state. Juan Carlos’ lawyer said that even though the king will be outside Spain he intends to be available to cooperate with the investigation.

(Read more King Juan Carlos I stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.