Spain’s former king Juan Carlos has reportedly been staying at one of the world’s most luxurious hotels since fleeing his country amid a corruption scandal.
Spanish national daily ABC reported the 82-year-old checked into Abu Dhabi’s exclusive Emirates Palace Hotel on Monday night.
This is around the same time his letter informing his son, King Felipe, of his intention to leave, was made public, the newspaper said.
Image: The Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Earlier this week reports suggested he had fled to a luxury resort in the Dominican Republic, via Porto in Portugal.
But ABC said the ex-monarch took a private jet (en route from Paris to Abu Dhabi) from the city of Vigo on Spain’s northwest coast at Sunday lunchtime with at least five passengers, including four bodyguards.
The jet landed at Al Bateen Executive Airport, whose use is exclusively for private flights arriving in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, the newspaper reported.
From there the father-of-three travelled by helicopter to the five-star hotel, owned by the Emirati government, it added.
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United Arab Emirates officials were not immediately available for comment, Reuters reported. The Emirates Palace Hotel did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment, the news agency said.
It was widely reported Juan Carlos left the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid on Sunday and spent the night in Sanxenxo, a small town on Spain’s Atlantic coast, where he had often attended sailing events – a 42-minute drive to Vigo.
Officials in the Dominican Republic and Portugal have said they have no knowledge of him arriving.
Image: Former king Juan Carlos, former Queen Sofia, King Felipe and Queen Letizia in 2018
In a letter to his son, King Felipe, published on the Spanish royal family’s website, Juan Carlos said that he had chosen to leave the country because of “public repercussions that certain past events in my private life are generating”.
Juan Carlos came to the throne in 1975 after the death of General Francisco Franco and was widely respected for his role in helping guide Spain from dictatorship to democracy.
But his popularity sank in later years because of a series of scandals, leading to him stepping down.
Prosecutors in Switzerland are investigating whether financial transactions linked to Juan Carlos had any bearing on Saudi Arabia awarding a lucrative multi-billion-dollar deal to Spanish companies to build a high-speed railway in the kingdom in 2011.
Image: Juan Carlos (l) abdicated the throne to his son, King Felipe VI, in 2014
In March this year, Switzerland’s La Tribune de Geneve newspaper reported that the former monarch received $100m (£75m) from the late Saudi King Abdullah in 2008.
Juan Carlos allegedly then transferred €65m (£75m) to his former companion, the German businesswoman Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein.
Spain’s supreme court has also opened an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the Saudi deal, and whether the former king can be investigated for any dealings after 2014, when he lost his immunity from prosecution after his abdication.
The former monarch is not formally under investigation.
His lawyer, the royal palace and the government have all declined to say where he is.
Source : Sky News