Photograph Seems to Show Spain’s Former King Landing in UAE

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Former King Juan Carlos I appears to have traveled to Abu Dhabi after abandoning Spain amid allegations of corruption.

A photograph obtained by theNIUS news website purports to show the former head of state stepping off a plane at the airport in the United Arab Emirates.

Speculation has swirled in Spain on the whereabouts of Juan Carlos, 82, after he shocked the nation by announcing his decision to go into exile in a letter published by the royal family on Aug. 3. His son, King Felipe VI, has spent the past six months attempting to distance himself from mounting allegations of wrongdoing by his father.

In June, prosecutors with Spain’s Supreme Court said they were probing Juan Carlos’s role in awarding a contract to build a high-speed train line between Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia to a group that includes Spanish companies. That followed a decision by Felipe to renounce any future inheritance from his father and strip Juan Carlos of his retirement allowance.

Juan Carlos’s flight has revived debate about the monarchy and is providing fresh impetus for Catalan separatists. Catalonia’s parliament on Friday voted to condemn the monarchy following Juan Carlos’s departure from Spain.

The former king will remain outside of Spain while legal proceedings play out, according to El Pais. The first will come in September when his ex-lover, Corinna Larsen, is due to testify in an investigation into whether she hired an ex-police commissioner to spy on an assistant. Juan Carlos is also waiting to see if a prosecutor has sufficient evidence to bring a complaint against him over his involvement in the awarding of the Mecca rail contract.

Juan Carlos abdicated the throne in 2014 in favor of Felipe amid concerns that the declining popularity of the monarch would turn public opinion against the institution itself. Still, a Sigma Dos poll published by El Mundo found that a majority of Spaniards believe the former king played a significant role in facilitating the transition to democracy after the death of former dictator Francisco Franco. At the same time, more than 80% believe he should respond to a judicial investigation about alleged tax evasion for receiving a payment of $100 million from Saudi Arabia, the poll found.

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