Spain’s former king Juan Carlos is now living in exile because of his shady finances


In 2014, Spain’s King Juan Carlos abdicated the throne in a cloud of controversy, bad optics and financial shenanigans. It was believed that the then-Crown Prince Felipe had been kept “clean” from his family’s many improprieties, and when Felipe ascended to the throne, he maintained a warm and gracious relationship with his parents, minus a very public dust-up between Queen Letizia and Felipe’s mother, Queen Sofia.

But old sins cast long shadows: Juan Carlos had been shady for so many years as king, and even though he abdicated, all of this old sh-t kept coming out. In March, we learned that in 2008, Saudi King Abdullah gave some kind of extraordinary $100 million kickback to King Juan Carlos and the deal was being investigated by Swiss and Spanish authorities. Swiss authorities because it appears as if the Saudis laundered the money through Swiss banks. Because of the tens of millions of dollars in Juan Carlos’ bank accounts, King Felipe had to strip his father of his annual stipend from the state. Now it looks like Juan Carlos is going into self-imposed exile!! This is so retro and ridiculous.

Spain’s former king, Juan Carlos I, who steered the nation from dictatorship to democracy, has left the country amid scrutiny of his alleged financial dealings. In a letter to his son, King Felipe VI, Juan Carlos wrote that he made the decision to leave “in the face of the public repercussion that certain past events of my private life are generating.”

A Royal Household spokesperson told CNN after publication of the letter on Monday that the former monarch “has left already,” but declined to reveal where he has gone. Earlier, his lawyer Javier Sanchez-Junco told CNN that Juan Carlos’ move out of Spain was imminent, insisting he didn’t know where the former King was headed.

Spanish and international media have reported on the alleged financial dealings of the former King, now 82, even before he abdicated in 2014, and on the efforts of his son to distance himself from his father. King Felipe expressed ” heartfelt respect and gratitude” for his father’s decision to leave the country, according to a press release from the Royal Household.

“The King wishes to emphasize the historical importance that his father’s reign represents, his legacy and his political and institutional work for Spain and democracy; and at the same time he wants to reaffirm the principles and values ​​on which it (Spain’s democracy) is based,” the press release said.

In the letter announcing his departure, Juan Carlos wrote: “A year ago, I expressed my will and desire to stop performing institutional activities. Now, guided by the conviction to perform the best service to the Spanish people, their institutions and you as King, I am communicating my thoughtful decision to move, at this time, outside of Spain. A decision I make with sadness, but with great serenity. I have been King of Spain for almost forty years and, during all of them, I have always wanted the best for Spain and for the Crown,” said the letter, published by the Royal Household.

[From CNN]

NO ONE KNOWS WHERE HE WENT!! This is killing me! I can’t believe this is really happening. A European former king was like “whoopsie, you found that $100 million from the Saudis? My bad, I’m gonna peace out” and then he’s in the f–king wind. He left Spain already and no one knows where he went. Ordinarily, I would say Switzerland is the ideal non-extradition European country, but clearly, the Swiss authorities are investigating him too. Interpol is probably trying to find him?? Where did he go?? My guess is South America. Buenos Aires, maybe?

King Juan Carlos Attends 'Corrida de la Beneficencia' Bullfights

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Avalon Red.

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37 Responses to “Spain’s former king Juan Carlos is now living in exile because of his shady finances”

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  1. Palmasan says:

    He’s gone to a friend’s property in Dominican Republic, it has been already reported. And it seems he’ll be back in Spain in September.

  2. ArtHistorian says:

    I wonder how much longer the Spanish monarchy will last.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      I think the Spanish monarchy has a chance as the public seems to really like Felipe VI. From what I have read (which is not much) on the subject, the Queen Consort is well liked too.

      • ArtHistorian says:

        I’m sceptical because historically, restored monarchies almost always fail (the only one that has survived is the British one) and serious scandals keep dogging the Spanish RF.

        I get the impression that while people may like Felipe, they are generally much more skeptical about the entire institution in itself (which is typical of restored monarchies, especially when people still remember living in a non-monarchical state). Add in COVID, which will have a massive effect on the Spanish economy there’s no telling what will happen.

        This scandal hasn’t blow over yet and I do wonder if the Felipe and Letizia can insulate themselves enough from it. Juan Carlos’ corruption has tainted the institution itself and it doesn’t have the weight of centuries, like the British monarchy has, to weather one bad apple.

        I wondered about their chance of survival even before Juan Carlos was forced to abdicate simply because restored monarchies rarely lasts. I just thought that it might lip along for a couple of generations but now I’m starting to doubt that Felipe’s heir will ever ascend the throne.

      • Sid says:

        Bay, I keep reading the opposite about the general Spanish opinion of Letizia. The ones who care seem to prefer the more “traditional” Sofia as opposed to Letizia, who I think is fantastic but seems to take a lot of heat for not being a shrinking violet. It doesn’t help that her mother-in-law insists on trying to undermine her at every turn.

      • Thirtynine says:

        I think Felipe is a good man, who loves and married a good woman. They both have committed themselves to working hard for their country and raising their daughters to serve. Watching leonors speeches and seeing her parents glow with pride is beautiful. But I have always read that Letizia was very uncertain at the idea of becoming Queen, when Felipe proposed and did not accept straight away. She had worked hard and pursued a professional career in which she had pretty well reached the top. Felipe also is very well educated and highly intelligent. My opinion is that Felipe will do his duty to his country, but should the monarchy in Spain end, he and Letizia would both happily take on different lives. This is just my thought as an onlooker.

      • anotherlily says:

        I think the Spanish monarchy will remain too. Felipe is well regarded and the Crown Princess is already making her mark. This family unit gives a good impression of Spain.

  3. Becks1 says:

    Greece? Not sure what their extradition etc laws are though.

    • MissMarierose says:

      I doubt it’s Greece. Sofia was a Greek princess and her family was exiled after WWII. If they aren’t letting their former king and his family return, I doubt they’d be too welcoming to Sofia and Juan Carlos.

      • (TheOG) jan90067 says:

        Did Sofia go with him? Is that known? I can’t believe she’d leave Spain to Lettie lol. That woman (Sofia) STILL can’t reconcile that SHE *isn’t* TQ anymore!

      • notasugarhere says:

        They aren’t banned from Greece anymore. Constantine and Anne-Marie have lived in Greece since 2013. Their third child, Nikolaos, also lives with his wife Tatiana in Athens.

      • Shoesnotblues says:

        Sofia is still in Spain because of course she is.

  4. Ariel says:

    Seize every dime of his money, throw his ass in prison.
    Why has our world determined that some people are too rich to jail?

  5. Palmasan says:

    It’s not a rumor but seems provisory He went to Dominican Republic via Galicia, then Portugal. It’s been first reported by ABC, which is the conservative royalist newspaper, then picked up by La Vanguardia:
    Both newspapers are pretty legit with good sources.

    • Chica1971 says:

      Did Queen Sofia go with him? Not that they have a real relationship but curious. What happens to Christina? I guess JC was really supporting her in Switzerland with that job…Don’t screw over the mistress!!

  6. KellyRyan says:

    In hopes this becomes the new normal. :) King Drumpf, Andrew.

    • anotherlily says:

      Yes! The York’s finances look shady. The Sunninghill sale raises questions. I wouldn’t be surprised to find money-laundering involved. Though I doubt if Andrew has secretly stashed millions on the scale of Juan Carlos.

      The Middleton finances look shady too. There are suspicions of links with the nefarious activities of ‘Uncle Gary’.

  7. chess says:

    Jaque mate! checkmate!
    The next piece/ move… Felipe/ Letizia . They are kinda isolated and« don´t have too much public support ( Yeah sure they are some spanish royalists who support them, but the vast mayority of spanish people aren´t royalist…
    End game : referendum and the next step is the spanish federative republic ( they triying to stop the independentism in Galiza, Catalunya and the Euskera region.

  8. TIFFANY says:

    The man survived the Franco reign. This is all he knows.

    Doesn’t make it right, but not surprised.

  9. Digital Unicorn says:

    Good riddance – former Queen Sofia will be LIVID!! Esp as he’s likely shacking up with a mistress AND that she will also be expect to disappear from public life completely now. Expect her to up the public ante against Queen Letti with more ‘forced’ PR stunts with her grand daughters. Its not just his father who is a negative stain on his reign but his mother and her scheming for her and her daughters (esp Christina) are as well.

    • L84Tea says:

      I am not a huge fan of Sofia, as I find her inability to let her position go rather annoying. As someone who has a difficult mother in law who steps on my toes quite often, Sofia makes me eyes twitch.

    • notasugarhere says:

      I doubt Sofia would disappear, that isn’t her style. She’ll continue to play the role of long-suffering Real Queen, releasing tons of stories about how she’s the guiding force behind the young heir. That stunt she pulled with the girls got the old school royalists supporting her and attacking Letizia. Sofia glories in that.

      She deserved to be exiled for all the games she pulled supporting Criminal Cristina but she wasn’t. Weren’t the Saudis rumored to fund Cristina’s move to Switzerland before the Noos trial?

  10. Belinda says:

    The rumours that he went to the Dominican Republic via Portugal make sense – the Dominican Republic is a well known safe haven for rich criminals. No joke, look it up! The Dominican Republic doesn’t extradite so the criminals are safe there!
    In a way all this makes perfect sense … Juan Carlos as a child killed under “unclear” circumstances his own brother and just skated away from that … now he will live his final days in some shady hole skating away from accountability forever.

    • Amelie says:

      Yeah the story of him killing his own brother as a kid comes up from time to time. We’ll never know the true story from what I understand they were messing around with the gun when they shouldn’t have and he pointed it at his brother not knowing it was loaded. First rule of holding a gun is you never point it at someone, whether it’s loaded or not. But I don’t doubt that it was a tragic accident. Juan Carlos may be many things, but I doubt he is a cold-blooded killer. His brother’s death has likely haunted him his whole life.

  11. Elizabeth says:

    This is just absolutely ridiculous, but also the most wonderful intrigue to follow in 2020! Read about this this morning and was hoping you’d cover it.

  12. Lucy says:

    He’s not in Buenos Aires. Anyways, defund the monarchy.

  13. Sofia says:

    Not surprised. I just feel bad for Felipe, Letizia and the girls who are the ones who are going to have to clean up this mess. The Spanish monarchy isn’t very popular anyways so this could be the death blow – a shame because I genuinely like the family. I’ve heard that while Felipe (the current King) is well liked, Letizia is not (despite the fact she works hard) mostly because the Spanish people mostly love Sofia.

  14. Ana says:

    Some historians say the monarchy is an necessary evil in Spain, given all the free -Catalunya, Euzkadi and Galizia -movements still around. I don’t know…if there is no nation that holds itself together, what is the point if the monarchy anyway? I feel for the kids, both royal and otherwise, who have no say in this political sh!+show and yet have to pay the consequences.

  15. A says:

    This story is truly something else, honestly. First of all, I know that I shouldn’t, but in spite of my better sense, I do have a bit of grudging leftover respect for Juan Carlos. He did his best with what he had, and I do think that he had his head screwed on fairly straight for the earliest parts of his reign. And his wife, Sofia, all things said and done, was a huge asset to his own image. She’s not someone to be slept on either. Both of these people weren’t exactly lacking in the intelligence department. You couldn’t navigate the post-Franco transition if you didn’t have some semblance of your wits about you.

    Which is why all of this is just deeply disappointing. He had immense good will, and he squandered it all away. He didn’t need any of the money he’s supposedly laundering. He’s in a hugely privileged position, and, contrary to some of the royal families in Europe, he’s arguably done a few things to perhaps deserve it. And better yet, he had the popular support on his side regarding that. Why do this? What could he have hoped to get out of this? Why frivol away all this for some easy cash? FFs.

  16. Cee says:

    Doubt he’d land in Buenos Aires. He would get extradited due to every single pact and deal we hold with Spain (and vice versa)
    He must be in some fiscal heaven with no extradition.