Spain: Scandal-ridden former king returns for first time in 2 years

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MADRID – Former Spanish King Juan Carlos will return to the country on his first visit on Thursday after being swept into the clouds of financial scandal nearly two years ago.

The royal family has announced that Juan Carlos will travel to the northwestern city of San Francisco for a yachting event. The 84-year-old will travel to Madrid on Monday, where he will meet his son, King Philip VI, and other members of the royal family.

A statement from the palace sent late Wednesday said Juan Carlos would return to Abu Dhabi on Monday, describing the city as a place where Juan Carlos had taken “permanent and stable residence.”

It added that the visit reflected the former king’s desire to “travel to Spain frequently to visit family and friends.”

Juan Carlos left Spain for Abu Dhabi in August 2020 after Spanish and Swiss prosecutors began investigating alleged financial misconduct against him. The scandal and his departure have sparked renewed debate over whether Spain should have a monarchy.

Spanish prosecutors have found no evidence that the former king was taken to court because of financial misconduct involving millions of euros (dollars) in undisclosed accounts, while being protected by immunity as king of Spain, and other possible frauds. Outside the law of limitation.

Investigations have allowed 5.1 million euros ($ 5.4 million) in fines and tax refunds for income that Juan Carlos failed to declare to Spanish tax authorities, prosecutors said in their ruling.

Swiss prosecutors have also dropped the investigation.

Although the former king was not directly involved in the Swiss investigation, prosecutors there say they found that Juan Carlos received 2008 100 million from the Saudi finance ministry in 2008 – before he stepped down as king. The lawsuit was settled out of court by the king or his ex-girlfriend, Karina Larsen, a Danish-German businesswoman.

In March, he wrote a letter to Felipe expressing his desire to meet with family and friends in Spain after Supreme Court prosecutors closed an investigation into his financial dealings.

King Juan Carlos, who has never been indicted, helped bring Spain back to democracy after the death of dictator General Francisco Franco in 1975, making him once Spain’s most respected public figure. In the years following his reign, however, scandals of one kind or another involving the family began to grow. He left in 2014, ending a long 39-year reign as king.

Since becoming king, Philip has tried to distance himself from his father by removing the former king from the royal house’s salary to help rebuild the image of the Spanish crown.

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