Juan Carlos chose to leave Spain in 2020 after being discredited by a major corruption scandal. His reputation as a womanizer did not help the image of his son Felipe. With his passing he hoped to give his son some air.
Spanish prosecutors announced last week that they would close all investigations into Juan Carlos’ financial activities, fueling speculation that Juan Carlos may return to Spain. However, the former king decided to spend his old age in the United Arab Emirates. He writes to his son that he will visit Spain regularly.
“My dear son, I informed you in August 2020 of my decision to leave Spain in order to facilitate the performance of your functions. Since then I live in Abu Dhabi, the place where I have adapted my lifestyle and where I really appreciate their wonderful hospitality,” he began his message.
He says he has considered returning, but for now “for reasons of my own and which only concern me, to continue living permanently in Abu Dhabi”. “Where I have found peace of mind, especially in this period of my life. Although of course I will return regularly to Spain, which I always carry in my heart, to visit family and friends.” He is already indicating that he wants to “have as much privacy as possible” during those future visits.
I realize that past events affect public opinion. I am deeply sorry for that, because I also feel legitimate pride in my contribution to a democratic society and freedom in Spain, as a result of the collective efforts and sacrifices of all the Spanish people.” At the end of his letter, he said he was “extremely proud” of his son.
Justice has conducted several investigations into the flows of Juan Carlos’s money and property. This included an investigation into the former king’s involvement in the sale of contracts to build a “Desert High Speed Train” in Saudi Arabia. He would get a commission for it. Cases against Juan Carlos were dropped for several reasons, among them the lack of incriminating evidence and the immunity of the head of state. However, according to his lawyer, he made millions in the last year to pay off his arrears to the Spanish tax authorities.
Juan Carlos ruled Spain from 1975 to 2014. He retired as head of state for health reasons, but officially retained his title.
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