Former king Juan Carlos leaves Spain in exile amid corruption allegations

Updated 10:40 AM
FILE PHOTO: Former Spanish king, Juan Carlos, leaves after attending the funeral ceremony of Luxembourg's Grand Duke Jean at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Luxembourg, May 4, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Spain’s former king Juan Carlos has decided to leave his country, a dramatic exit designed to protect the monarchy after a barrage of corruption allegations surfaced against him.

The former King of Spain is reportedly in Dominican Republic.

The once-popular, now scandal-ridden, king left Spain before Monday’s announcement, local media said, with no indication of where he may have gone. 

The bombshell move stunned Spaniards and left them divided over whether the 82-year-old, who keeps the title of King Emeritus, was right to depart or should have stayed to face justice. 

Pressure had been building for weeks on the former king and his son, King Felipe, to take action to shore up the monarchy, after Spanish and Swiss prosecutors started looking into allegations of bribes over a high-speed rail contract.

The palace statement quoted Juan Carlos’ letter to Felipe as saying that he wanted to enable him to rule untroubled “amid the public repercussions that certain past events in my private life are generating”.

“Guided by my desire to do what is best to serve the Spanish people, its institutions and you as king, I am informing you of my … decision to leave Spain at this time.” 

King Felipe thanked Juan Carlos for his decision, underlining “the historic importance that his father’s reign represents” for democracy in Spain.