Spain’s former king to stay in UAE after prosecutors drop fraud probes | world news

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MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s former king Juan Carlos will stay in the United Arab Emirates for now but will visit Spain frequently, Madrid’s royal palace said on Monday, a week after the country’s prosecutor’s office dropped two investigations into allegations of fraud in its business dealings. .

Juan Carlos, 84, who left Spain for the United Arab Emirates under a cloud of scandal in August 2020, has been the subject of multiple investigations for money laundering by Spanish and Swiss authorities in the last two years.

The Spanish prosecutor’s office was investigating Juan Carlos for payments allegedly received under a high-speed train contract in Saudi Arabia. The decision to drop the investigations – which followed a similar move by Swiss prosecutors last year – came after investigators failed to find sufficient evidence of criminal activity.

The decision to drop investigations has fueled speculation over whether the former king would consider a return to Spain.

Juan Carlos said he considered the option after the prosecutor’s decision but ruled out doing so immediately, he wrote in a letter to his son, Spain’s King Felipe, dated 5 March but published Monday evening by the Royal Palace.

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“For reasons that remain private and concern only me, I prefer at this time to continue to live permanently and stably in Abu Dhabi, where I have found tranquility,” he wrote.

The former king said he would return to Spain frequently to visit family and friends, but would stay in private accommodations. He added that this would continue to be the case should he eventually decide to reside in Spain again.

Juan Carlos ascended 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 plummeted in the following years due to a series of scandals, prompting him to resign in 2014 and later leave the country in a move seen as protecting the monarchy from his son.

(Reporting by Joan Faus; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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