Spain’s scandal-hit former king postpones second trip home

MADRID (AP) — Spain’s former king has decided to postpone a second visit home since he established residence abroad after his reputation was tarnished by financial scandal, Spanish news agency EFE reported Tuesday.

Juan Carlos, 84, returned to his country last month for the first time in nearly two years to attend a sailing event in northwest Spain. At that time the mayor of Sanxenxo said that the ex-monach was planning to come back for another sailing event in the town this month.

But according to EFE and other Spanish media, Juan Carlos has decided not to return for the second time in as many months for “private reasons.” He resides in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates.

Juan Carlos was once one of Spain’s most respected public figures for his role in the country’s return to democracy following the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975. But scandals involving Spain’s royal family began to mount in the later years of his reign, leading Juan Carlos to abdicate in 2014 in favor of his son, Felipe VI.

Juan Carlos left Spain in August 2020 as Spanish and Swiss prosecutors investigated his involvement in alleged financial wrongdoings.

Spanish prosecutors had to shelve their case after concluding that the alleged misbehavior, involving millions of euros in undeclared accounts, happened when Juan Carlos had legal immunity as Spain’s king.

His behavior is widely considered in Spain as a public embarrassment that has tarnished the crown. Felipe renounced his inheritance from Juan Carlos and stripped him of his state-provided subsidy in 2020 in a groundbreaking move to distance himself from his father.

Juan Carlos still faces possible legal trouble in Britain, where a former lover who was allegedly involved in his opaque financial dealings has accused him of harassment.

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