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Juan Carlos I: Former king’s first return to Spain in two years sparks debate


Spain’s former king Juan Carlos I is expected to return home on Thursday after nearly two years in self-imposed exile.

He visited the United Arab Emirates in 2020 amid scandals over his finances.

The royal household said the 84-year-old would first travel to the northwestern town of Sanxenxo, where a yachting event is planned. He plans to travel to Madrid on Monday to see his son, King Felipe VI, and other members of the royal family, the palace said in a statement.

The royal palace said the ex-king would return to his “permanent and stable residence” in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, on Monday. He said his visit reflected Juan Carlos’ desire to “visit Spain frequently to visit family and friends”.

News of the former king’s impending return has divided opinion among the country’s politicians.

“I think all Spanish citizens deserve an explanation,” Spain’s Economic Affairs Minister Nadia Calviño told Cadena Ser television on Thursday.

Yolanda Díaz, second deputy prime minister and prominent member of the United We Can (Unidas Podemos) party, echoed this view.

“For me, it doesn’t matter where the king is,” she told reporters. “What I believe, for the dignity of an institution like the Royal House – and this comes from someone who is not a monarchist – is that it should be held accountable and explain to the Spaniards what he did when he was head of state. .”

Others said it was time to move on. “The prosecutors have already said that there were irregularities and that these irregularities are not subject to criminal prosecution,” said Edmundo Bal, spokesman for the Ciudadanos party. “That’s it. Period.”

Spanish prosecutors have failed to find evidence to bring the former monarch to justice as much of the alleged misconduct, involving millions of euros (dollars) in undeclared accounts, occurred when Juan Carlos had legal immunity as King of Spain. Other acts of potential fraud were not time-barred.

Investigations resulted in the recovery of 5.1 million euros ($5.4 million) in fines and income taxes that Juan Carlos failed to report to the Spanish tax authorities, prosecutors said in their submissions. conclusions.

euronews Gt

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