Royal reprieve! King Juan Carlos handed lifeline as Spain drops fraud investigation

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King Juan Carlos to leave Spain over financial scandal

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The former monarch was facing allegations of fraud with his business dealings. In August 2020, he left Spain following corruption allegations, the country’s royal family confirmed at the time. Now, Spain’s national prosecutor has dropped two investigations into alleged fraud after failing to find sufficient evidence of criminal activity.

The former monarch abdicated from the throne in June 2014 after four decades on the throne.

Spanish monarchs have immunity during their reign.

In 2020, Spain’s Supreme Court opened an investigation into the former head of state’s involvement with a high-speed rail contract in Saudi Arabia.

Mr Carlos has repeatedly declined to comment on the allegations.

Former King Juan Carlos I

Former King Juan Carlos I (Image: Getty)

King Juan Carlos with his son, Felipe

King Juan Carlos with his son, Felipe (Image: Getty)

The controversy also cast doubt over the future of the monarchy itself under his son King Felipe.

In an initial attempt to quell anger, King Felipe renounced any personal inheritance from his father when the corruption allegations first surfaced.

King Felipe also ended Juan Carlos’ annual palace allowance in March last year.

The former monarch retired from public life in 2019, five years after abdicating, to allow his son to take over the reins.

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Spanish public protest the Royal Family

Spanish public protest the Royal Family (Image: Getty)

In his letter, the former King said at the time: “It was a solemn act, full of emotion for me, that evoked, with pride and admiration, the memory of the many people who made the political transition [to democracy] possible and renewed my feeling of permanent gratitude toward the Spanish people, the true architect and leading protagonist of that transcendental stage of our recent history.”

Previously, the monarch had spoken to the chief of the royal household Rafael Spottorono about his plans to abdicate.

El Mundo reported him as saying: “I do not want my son to wither waiting like Prince Charles.”

Juan Carlos came to 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.

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European monarchs

European monarchs (Image: Express)

The fury against the monarchy swept across Spain in 2020.

Hundreds of furious anti-monarchy protests took to the streets in the Spanish capital city of Madrid demanding an end to the monarchy.

Even Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez waded into the scandal, saying it is an issue “all Spaniards are witnessing”.

Last month, concerns were raised over the health of the former monarch, who has been living in the United Arab Emirates since last summer, after reports suggested he was in a critical condition.

Public protest over the Spanish royal family

Public protest over the Spanish royal family (Image: Getty)

Spanish journalist Pilar Eyre claimed: “King Juan Carlos is in grave condition and the Royal House is evaluating the possibility of his transfer to Spain.”

However, these claims were rebuked both by insiders at the Spanish palace and the former monarch himself.

Speaking to local news outlet La Sexta, sources at Casa Real – which represents the Spanish Royal Family – said reports surrounding the health of King Juan Carlos I “are baseless”.

And a spokesperson for the former king said Juan Carlos is healthy and does “two hours of gymnastic every day”, according to Hola! magazine.

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