Former Spanish King Juan Carlos I has decided to leave Spain, according to a letter published by the Royal House on Monday.
“Certain events from my private life are generating public repercussions,” wrote Juan Carlos I in the letter, addressed to his son King Felipe VI.
Juan Carlos I abdicated in 2014, in the wake of a scandal related to an elephant-hunting safari in Botswana and corruption charges brought against his daughter Christina and her husband.
And although he passed power to his son, Juan Carlos I has remained in the headlines, with several new stories emerging this year linking him to potentially illegal activities.
In June, the public prosecutor of Spain’s Supreme Court announced that Juan Carlos I would be investigated in connection with a suspected kickback scheme for a contract to build a high-speed rail link to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
Swiss prosecutors are also investigating a €3.5 million ($4.1 million) transfer from a bank account held by Juan Carlos I, who still holds the title of Spain’s King Emeritus.
The Swiss investigators are not directly investigating Juan Carlos I for the moment, but are looking at three individuals closely liked to him, including Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, who is widely believed to be the former king’s ex-lover.
This spring, when media reports accused Juan Carlos I of receiving a €65 million gift from the king of Saudi Arabia, King Felipe VI publicly renounced any inheritance from his father and stripped him of his annual stipend of nearly €200,000.
“Guided by the conviction to lend my best services to all Spaniards, their institutions and you, as King, I communicate my decision to move, in these moments, away from Spain,” read the former king’s letter.
In response, according to the Royal Palace, King Felipe VI expressed his “respect and gratitude” for his father’s decision.
Juan Carlos I was widely credited for his role in bringing democracy to Spain.
When former dictator Francisco Franco died in 1975, he handed power to Juan Carlos I, who eventually facilitated the development of a constitutional monarchy.
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