Ex-king to visit Spain ‘periodically,’ but will live abroad

MADRID (AP) — King Felipe VI is accepting his father’s desire to return to Spain for periodic visits, although Juan Carlos I will remain based in the United Arab Emirates where he moved in 2020 following probes into his financial dealings, royal officials said Monday.

Juan Carlos wrote a letter to Felipe expressing his desire “to visit family and friends” in Spain after Supreme Court prosecutors closed the investigations, according to a statement on the royal website that contained the letter from the former king.

The prosecutors didn’t find evidence to take the former monarch to court because much of the financial misbehavior, involving millions of euros (dollars) in undeclared accounts, happened when Juan Carlos was protected by immunity as Spain’s king and other possible fraud fell out of the statute of limitations.

The probes allowed the recovery of 5.1 million euros ($5.6 million) in fines and taxes for income that Juan Carlos had failed to declare to Spain’s tax authorities, the prosecutors said in their conclusions.

“At this time, for reasons that belong to my private sphere and that only affect me, I prefer to continue residing permanently in Abu Dhabi, where I have found peace of mind, especially for this period of my life,” the monarch wrote to his son, according to the royal house. The letter was dated Saturday.

Juan Carlos, 84, wrote that he intends to live on private premises when he returns to Spain and expects to “enjoy the greatest privacy possible.”

“I am aware of the importance to public opinion of past events in my private life and that I sincerely regret, as I also feel legitimate pride in my contribution to democratic coexistence and freedom in Spain, the result of the collective effort and sacrifice of all Spanish people,” the letter concludes.

Juan Carlos, who retains the title of “King Emerit,” abdicated in favor of his son Felipe VI in 2014 following a series of scandals in the royal family. Since becoming king, Felipe has tried to distance himself from his father.

FILE – Spain’s former King Juan Carlos waves upon his arrival to the Academia Diplomatica de Chile, in Santiago. Spain’s Royal House said on Monday March 7, 2022 that King Felipe VI is accepting his father’s desire to return to Spain for periodical visits, although former king Juan Carlos I will remain based in the United Arab Emirates where he moved in 2020 following probes into his financial dealings. The prosecutors didn’t find evidence to take the former monarch to court because much of the financial misbehavior, involving millions of euros (dollars) in undeclared accounts, happened when Juan Carlos was protected by immunity as king of Spain and other possible fraud fell out of the statute of limitations. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix, File)

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