MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s former King Juan Carlos will remain for now in the United Arab Emirates but will visit Spain frequently, the Royal Palace of Madrid said on Monday a week after the country’s prosecutor office dropped two investigations into alleged fraud in his business dealings.
Juan Carlos, 84, who left Spain for the United Arab Emirates under a cloud of scandal in August 2020, has been the subject of multiple money-laundering investigations by Spanish and Swiss authorities for the past two years.
The Spanish prosecutor’s office had been investigating Juan Carlos for payments allegedly received in connection with a high-speed train contract in Saudi Arabia. The decision to drop the probes – which followed a similar move by Swiss prosecutors last year – came after investigators failed to find sufficient evidence of criminal activity.
The decision to drop the investigations fuelled speculation on whether the former king would consider a return to Spain.
Juan Carlos said he has considered that option after the prosecutor’s decision but has ruled out to do it immediately, he wrote in a letter to his son, Spain’s King Felipe, dated March 5 but released late on Monday by the Royal Palace.
“For reasons that remain private and that only affect me, I prefer in this moment to continue living in a permanent and stable way in Abu Dhabi, where I have found tranquillity,” he wrote.
The former king said he will return frequently to Spain to visit family and friends but will stay in private accommodations. He added that would continue being the case would he eventually decide to reside again in Spain.
Juan Carlos came to the throne in 1975 after the death of General Francisco Franco and was widely respected for his role in helping guide Spain from dictatorship to democracy.
But his popularity sank in later years due to a series of scandals, prompting him to step down in 2014 and later to leave the country in a move seen as protecting his son’s monarchy.
(Reporting by Joan Faus; Editing by Aurora Ellis)