Juan Carlos: Spain's former king confirmed to be in UAE

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Spain's former King Juan Carlos. File photoImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Juan Carlos is under investigation in Spain, as well as in Switzerland

Spain's former king Juan Carlos has been living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since 3 August, the Spanish royal palace has confirmed, putting an end to speculation over his whereabouts.

On 3 August, the ex-king made the shock announcement that he was leaving Spain amid a corruption investigation.

The 82-year-old travelled to the UAE on 3 August "and he remains there", a spokesman said, giving no more details.

The ex-king's finances are under scrutiny in a major corruption probe.

He denies any wrongdoing and has said he is available if prosecutors need to interview him.

Earlier this month, he announced the move in a letter to his son, Felipe, to whom he handed the throne six years ago.

He said at the time was making the decision "in the face of the public repercussions that certain past events in my private life are generating" and in the hope of allowing his son to carry out his functions as king with "tranquillity".

It was first reported that he had travelled to the Dominican Republic, but Spanish media later said he had arrived in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE.

However until now, neither the palace nor the government had confirmed his whereabouts.

The former king is said to have travelled to the UAE on several occasions since his abdication in 2014.

He is reported to be close to a number of key figures including the UAE's de facto leader, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan

Why did Juan Carlos leave?

Juan Carlos abdicated in 2014 after close to 40 years in power and handed power to his son Felipe.

His decision to give up the throne came after a corruption investigation involving his daughter's husband and a controversial elephant hunting trip the monarch took during Spain's financial crisis.

The controversies however did not stop there.

In June this year, Spain's Supreme Court launched an investigation into Juan Carlos's alleged involvement in a high-speed rail contract in Saudi Arabia, after the ex-king lost his immunity from prosecution following his abdication.

Juan Carlos played a pivotal role in Spain's transition to democracy after Gen Francisco Franco's death in 1975, but his popularity and his health declined in the final years of his reign, leading him to pass the baton to his son.

Media caption,

King Juan Carlos, 76, has had health problems in recent years