Mystery no more: Spain's ex-king Juan Carlos has been in UAE since Aug 3

MADRID (REUTERS) – Former Spanish king Juan Carlos, who left Spain under a cloud of scandal, has been in the United Arab Emirates since Aug 3, a royal household spokesman said on Monday (Aug 17), putting an end to an international guessing game over the 82-year-old’s whereabouts.

The former king had said on Aug 3 he would leave Spain after controversial aspects of his past private life came to light, but did not say where he was going.

“King Juan Carlos has told the royal household that he went to the Emirates on Aug 3, and he remains there now,” the spokesman said.

The once-popular king abdicated in favour of his son Felipe in 2014 after a tax fraud case involving members of the royal family, and an ill-judged elephant hunting trip at a time when Spaniards were struggling with a deep recession.

After leaving the throne, he took a step back from public life. But the controversy continued, culminating with a move by Spain’s Supreme Court in June to open a preliminary investigation into his involvement in a high-speed rail contract built by Spanish firms in Saudi Arabia.

Switzerland’s La Tribune de Geneve newspaper reported Juan Carlos had received US$100 million (S$136.82 million) from the late Saudi king.

Switzerland has also opened an investigation.

The former monarch is not formally under investigation and has repeatedly declined to comment on the subject.

After he announced his decision to leave, the former king’s lawyer said his client remained at the Spanish prosecutor’s disposal.

Spanish daily ABC reported 10 days ago that former king Juan Carlos had travelled on a private plane to Abu Dhabi from the northwestern Spanish city of Vigo and was staying at the government-owned Hotel Emirates Palace, while some media had speculated former king Juan Carlos was in the Dominican Republic or Portugal.

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