Spain’s prosecutors drop all probes against ex-King Juan Carlos

The public prosecutors clear the way for the 84-year-old to return to Spain from exile, listing various reasons.

The Spanish public prosecutor’s office has dropped all investigations into former King Juan Carlos, clearing the way for the 84-year-old to return to the country from exile.

The judiciary found numerous “irregularities” in the former king’s financial conduct but did not bring them to trial because of the statute of limitations, his immunity before his abdication in 2014 and taxes paid in arrears, El Pais newspaper reported on Thursday.

Since 2020, the Spanish authorities have launched three investigations into the father of King Felipe VI.

In addition to accounts in Jersey, they focused on alleged bribes paid during the construction of a high-speed railway line in Saudi Arabia and allegedly undeclared donations.

A Mexican businessman allegedly provided Juan Carlos with credit cards that he used to buy a jumping horse worth more than $11,000 for his granddaughter.

To avoid criminal proceedings for tax fraud, Juan Carlos paid more than $5.5m in back taxes about a year ago, as his lawyer confirmed at the time.

Spain’s King Juan Carlos and his son Crown Prince Felipe, right, hug at the signature ceremony of the act of abdication at the Royal Palace in Madrid [File: Juan Medina/Reuters]

Juan Carlos has been living in exile in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi for about 18 months, far from his 83-year-old wife and the rest of the family.

The man who was Spain’s head of state between 1975 and 2014 secretly left his home country on August 3, 2020, in order to “facilitate” Felipe’s work as accusations mounted against him, as a letter published later put it.

Since then, Juan Carlos has hardly shown himself in public. The royal family does not comment on the former monarch’s situation in Abu Dhabi.

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