Former Spain king to leave country after Saudi corruption allegations

Former Spain king to leave country after Saudi corruption allegations
Spain's former king has been dogged by a corruption scandal involving Saudi Arabia.
2 min read
The former king is linked to a corruption scandal involving the late Saudi monarch [Getty]
Spain's former King Juan Carlos I said Monday that he will leave the country, after being linked to a corruption scandal involving Saudi Arabia.

Spain's Supreme Court is currently investigating the former monarch's role in a high-speed rail contract in Saudi Arabia following allegations that King Juan Carlos I received $100 million from the then-King Abdullah, who passed away in 2015.

"I am informing you of my considered decision to move, during this period, out of Spain," the former monarch said in a letter to his son King Felipe, published online Monday.

"Guided by the conviction to best serve the people of Spain, its institutions, and you as king, I inform you of my decision at this time to go into exile outside Spain," Juan Carlos wrote.

"It's a decision I take with deep anguish, but great peace of mind," he added.

There was no mention which country the former king will be exiled to.

The 82-year-old said he hoped his move overseas and the scandal will not overshadow his son's rule, while his lawyer insisted that the former king would still be available to investigators.

Juan Carlos stepped down as monarch in 2014, after being dogged by a number of scandals with his son Felipe taking to the throne.

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has described the latest corruption allegations as "disturbing".

"The entire Spanish population are receiving disturbing information which is troubling for us all, including me," he said.

King Felipe has distanced himself from the case and withdrew an annual stripent for his father.

An inquiry opened in Spain in September 2018 following the publication of records attributed to German businesswoman Corinna Larsen, allegedly a former mistress of Juan Carlos.

She claimed he had received a commission when a consortium of Spanish companies were awarded a high-speed railway contract to link the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.

Larsen told Swiss investigators he had transferred her nearly 65 million euros in the Bahamas, "not to get rid of the money" but "out of gratitude and out of love", according to El Pais daily.

Swiss media reported last March that Juan Carlos was paid $100 million into a Panamanian foundation's Swiss bank account by King Abdullah in 2008.

The UK's The Daily Telegraph have also reported that Felipe VI was also a beneficiary of the foundation.

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