Madrid, 4 August 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Amid a corruption scandal, former Spanish king Juan Carlos has announced he is leaving the country and moving abroad, according to an open letter released by the royal palace on Monday.
Juan Carlos said he was taking the decision to make it easier for his son, King Felipe, to perform his duties. Juan Carlos’ popularity has plummeted in recent months as he has become implicated in a scandal about illegal payments from a Spanish consortium for the construction of a high-speed train in Saudi Arabia.
The country’s highest court ruled on June 8 that investigations could begin into the former monarch.
The concern has been that, aside from tarnishing Juan Carlos’ legacy, the scandal could also damage the popularity of Felipe.
The decision was made “in light of the public repercussions that certain past events have caused,” wrote Juan Carlos, 82, in the letter.
“It is a decision that I am taking with deep emotion, but also with great calm,” he added.
Juan Carlos, once hailed for his role in Spain‘s transition to democracy at the end of fascist rule, abdicated in 2014 after a controversy over a elephant-hunting trip at the height of the financial crisis.