Former king Juan Carlos is in the United Arab Emirates after leaving Spain earlier this month amid a financial scandal, the Spanish royal household has announced.
Juan Carlos, 82, is the target of official investigations in Spain and Switzerland into possible financial wrongdoing.
“His Majesty Juan Carlos has indicated to this household to communicate that he travelled to United Arab Emirates on August 3 and that’s where he currently remains,” a spokesman for the royal household told The Associated Press.
The spokesman declined to say if the UAE would be Juan Carlos’ permanent residence.
In a letter published on the royal family’s website on August 3, Juan Carlos told his son King Felipe VI he was moving outside Spain due to the “public repercussions of certain episodes of my past private life”.
Juan Carlos facilitated Spain’s transition to democratic rule in the 1970s, when the heir of the Bourbon dynasty replaced former General Francisco Franco as the country’s head of state.
He reigned for nearly four decades while Spain modernised and joined the European Union but criticism grew as his luxurious life and corruption scandals tarnishing members of the royal family offered a striking contrast with the suffering of Spaniards during the global financial crisis.
In 2014, Juan Carlos abdicated the throne that then went to Felipe, who has taken steps to shield the monarchy from the scandals.
His Majesty Juan Carlos has indicated to this household to communicate that he travelled to United Arab Emirates on August 3 and that's where he currently remainsThe Spanish royal household
Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez, whose monarchy-supporting Socialist Party is in a coalition government with the pro-republic, far-left Unidas Podemos, has praised the royal house’s decision to take distance from the former king.
Despite relocating outside of Spain, Juan Carlos has pledged via his lawyer to make himself available to co-operate with the investigation in Spain.
The investigation, which is in its early stages, is looking into whether the former monarch received millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia during the construction of a high-speed railway there by a Spanish consortium.
A separate Swiss judicial probe is looking into millions of euros that were allegedly given to Juan Carlos by Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah and allegedly transferred by Juan Carlos to a former companion.