Juan Carlos: Spain’s former king ‘leaves country’ amid corruption allegations

Spain’s former king Juan Carlos, who has been facing corruption allegations, has left the country, according to reports.

The Spanish supreme court opened an investigation in June into his involvement in a high-speed rail contract in Saudi Arabia.

It came after Switzerland’s La Tribune de Geneve newspaper reported he had received $100m (£75m) from the late Saudi King.

Juan Carlos, 82, has declined to comment on the allegations. His lawyer, Javier Sanchez-Junco, said despite his decision to leave, the former king would “remain at the disposal of the prosecutors’ office”.

The corruption claims have eroded people’s confidence in the monarchy.

A letter from Juan Carlos to his son, King Felipe, published on the royal family’s website, said: “I am informing you of my considered decision to move, during this period, out of Spain.”

Juan Carlos said he came to the decision against the backdrop of “public repercussions that certain past events in my private life are generating”.

He said he wanted to ensure he did not make his son’s role as monarch difficult.

King Felipe thanked Juan Carlos for his decision, underlining “the historic importance that his father’s reign represents” for democracy in Spain.

He also reaffirmed “the principles and values on which it (democracy) is based according to our constitution and legal framework”.

Spanish monarchs have immunity during their reign but Juan Carlos abdicated in 2014, potentially leaving himself vulnerable to prosecution.

The El Mundo newspaper reported he has left Spain. His current whereabouts were not known.

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 because of a series of scandals, leading to him stepping down.

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