In Total Telenovela Style, Spain’s Former King Is Forced Into Exile But Don’t Feel Too Bad For Him
In news that totally seems to be made for TV, the former king of Spain – Juan Carlos – has been forced to flee the country and to live in exile as allegations of corruption emerge.
Juan Carlos had been a very popular and well-liked king until he was forced to abdicate in 2014. He had been on an elephant hunting trip in Botswana as Spain grappled with the very worst of the Great Recession and unemployment hit 24%.
Since his abdication, allegations of corruption and money laundering have chased him and harmed the Spanish monarchy, including his son, Felipe, who is the current reigning king.
Spain is reeling after their former king, Juan Carlos, has fled the country to live in exile abroad.
For a royal scandal with a dash of shock and awe, this week we look to Spain, where its former king has fled the country under a cloud of corruption allegations. This is the same former king who was accused of having a thing for Princess Diana.
Juan Carlos, who ruled for 39 years from 1975 to 2014, has fled the country following a series of allegations he pocketed tens of millions of dollars from a Saudi Arabian deal in an offshore Swiss bank account. He dropped the news to son and current rule King Felipe via a letter published this week.
The former king had become plagued with scandal after scandal and it was beginning to impact his son Felipe, the current reigning king.
Although he had several small scale scandals during his reign, Juan Carlos appeared set to go down in history as the leader who helped guide Spain from a deadly dictatorship to a healthy democracy after the death of Gen. Franco in 1975.
However, once his. 2014 abdication of the throne, new allegations of corruption and shady financial deals have followed him. As a result, the former king’s son – King Felipe – has led a very austere personal life in a country where the monarchy does not enjoy high levels of support.
Many experts say that the whole situation has cast a shadow on the future of Spain’s monarchy. The emergence of shocking allegations of corruption and money laundering against former Spanish King Juan Carlos have cast doubt over the very future of the monarchy, under his son King Felipe
Meanwhile, officials actually have no idea where the former king is currently at.
Since the former king first published his letter detailing his plan to live in exile, outside of Spain, there has been intense speculation about where he would go. Turns out: we still don’t know for sure.
His letter gave no details about his destination but many media outlets reported he would be going to the Caribbean – perhaps the Dominican Republic. However, officials there said they had no information that he was coming.
A spokeswoman for the Caribbean nation’s immigration service said he had not entered the country, despite reports that he had arrived on Tuesday. But she said he had been there for a few days from late February to early March.
Media in Portugal have reported that he is in a Portuguese resort town, but few outlets have actually been able to confirm these reports.
So with all this drama what could happen to the former king next?
As a royal, Juan Carlos still enjoys some level of immunity from prosecution. However, in Switzerland, which is investigating alleged money laundering, the former king has no immunity, regardless of the date of any possible crimes. So it’s possible that Swiss prosecutors could attempt to bring charges against him.
Regarding the Spanish Supreme Court inquiry, most experts believe the former king will avoid charges as most of the possible crimes took place before his abdication.
Spain’s Congress too has so far voted against a minority of left-wing and regional parties that wish to hold an investigative commission into the origin of Juan Carlos’s offshore fortune.
But what of King Felipe’s future in a country that polls suggest is split fairly evenly down the middle on remaining a monarchy? Some argue that Felipe needs to take greater steps towards a clean break with the past. The Prime Minister has admitted that he is in favor of reforming the constitutional concept of absolute immunity for Spain’s head of state.
While a prominent supporter of Spain’s monarchy, José Antonio Zarzalejos, told the BBC that King Felipe should take further steps to secure his future on the throne, including the “physical removal” of Juan Carlos from Zarzuela palace.
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