Juan Carlos I informs son he is leaving Spain, amid investigations into hidden fortune

Juan Carlos in a photo taken last year.
Juan Carlos in a photo taken last year. / REUTERS
  • King Felipe VI has accepted his father's decision with "gratitude" and stressed the "historical importance" of his 39-year reign

Juan Carlos de Borbón, King of Spain until his abdication in 2014, has told his son, King Felipe VI, that he is going to live abroad.

In a statement on Monday he said that he had taken a "meditated decision" to leave the country due to the repercussions of "certain past events" in his private life and to help his son carry out his role as Head of State without distraction.

"I'm bound [to leave] by my legacy and my personal dignity," he said in the letter made public by the Royal Family.

In response Felipe VI offered his father his "heartfelt respect and gratitude for his decision" and stressed "the historical importance" of his father's 39-year reign, "as the legacy and political and institutional work at the service of Spain and democracy".

The emeritus king's decision comes after information was revealed regarding a fortune in Switzerland and tax havens, due to the alleged receipt of commissions and illicit financial activity.

The lawyer of the former head of state has also made public a statement saying that, despite his departure from Spain, his client was at the disposal of the Public Prosecution Department for any formality or action it deems necessary.

During the coronavirus lockdown, King Felipe announced that he was renouncing all inheritance from his father, due to the growing allegations of corrupt practice involving funds of which the current king had been a beneficiary.