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Former king Juan Carlos I will leave Spain to avoid prosecution

Accused in a corruption investigation, the scandal-ridden monarch was Spain's head of state for almost 40 years

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03 August 2020 06:42 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

Former king, Juan Carlos I will leave Spain to avoid prosecution for an alleged corruption scheme involving secret payments from Saudi Arabia and a bank account in Switzerland.

As the political heir to dictator Francisco Franco who became head of state in 1975 and then had a pivotal role in the transition to democracy, Juan Carlos saw the last chapter of his 40-year reign marred by controversies, which continued to come to light even after he abdicated in favor of his son, Felipe VI, in 2014.

On Wednesday, the palace released a statement containing the text of a letter from the former monarch to the current one, explaining briefly his decision to move abroad: "Guided by the conviction of providing the best service to Spaniards, to their institutions and to you as King, I communicate to you my considered decision to move, at this moment, outside Spain."

The official statement also included a response from King Felipe, who thanked his father for his decision, and said he wished to "emphasize the historical importance" of his predecessor's reign and acknowledge his "service to Spain and democracy."

"At the same time," the statement added, the king wants to "reaffirm the principles and values" on which the monarchy is based, that is "within the framework of the Spanish Constitution and the legal system."

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  • Juan Carlos I (right) abdicates in favor of his son, Felipe VI, in 2014 (by EFE)

  • Juan Carlos I (right) abdicates in favor of his son, Felipe VI, in 2014 (by EFE)

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