Spain’s former king leaving country amid financial scandal

Spain Former King
Spain Former King

Former king Juan Carlos has said 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 does not make his son's role difficult, adding "my legacy and my own dignity, demand that it should be so".

He did not say which country he will be moving to.

Juan Carlos's lawyer, Javier Sanchez-Junco Mans, said in an emailed statement that the former king had asked him to make clear that even though he will be outside Spain he intends to be available to cooperate with the investigation.

Spain Former King
The royal family's website published a letter from the former monarch saying he is leaving Spain to live in another country (Esteban Felix/AP)

Spain's prime minister recently said he found the developments about Juan Carlos – including investigations in Spain and Switzerland – "disturbing".

Since Spain's Supreme Court opened its probe earlier this year, Spanish media outlets have published testimony from a separate Swiss investigation into millions of euros that were allegedly given 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 are considering as a possible 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 favour of his son Felipe VI, losing the inviolability protection Spain's Constitution grants to the head of state.

After media reports claimed Felipe was a beneficiary of an offshore account holding an alleged 65 million-euro gift from Saudi Arabia to Juan Carlos, Felipe renounced any future personal inheritance he might receive from the former king.

Felipe also stripped his father of his annual stipend of 194,232 euros.

The royal house has denied that Felipe had any knowledge of his father's alleged financial irregularities.