SPAIN’S disgraced former monarch, Juan Carlos I, is set to return to live in Spain, nearly three years after going into self-imposed exile in the United Arab Emirates. 

Close friends of the self-styled emeritus king, aged 85, have told Spanish news media that he is planning to make Spain his home once more should the conservative Popular Party’s Alberto Nuñez Feijoo become prime minister in the wake of the July 23 general election. 

Juan Carlos left his home country in August 2020 after a series of accusations of financial irregularities piled up against him. Earlier that year, his son, King Felipe VI, renounced any inheritance from his father and cut his income due to the mounting scandals.

The emeritus king is also planning to make another visit at the end of July to Sanxenxo, a Galician coastal area where he has participated in a series of sailing regattas since he moved to Abu Dhabi. 

Investigations into Juan Carlos’s financial affairs have been shelved both in Spain and in Switzerland, due to a combination of his immunity as monarch at the time of the alleged irregularities and the statute of limitations having expired. 

Despite this, the current administration of Socialist Party Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has been against the king’s return to Spain, with Sanchez publicly stating that Juan Carlos should offer the Spanish people an explanation for the accusations against him. 

The Socialist Party’s junior partner in government, Unidas Podemos, is a republican party and has been more openly hostile toward the father of the current king. 

Feijoo, meanwhile, has regularly stated publicly that Juan Carlos should be allowed to return to Spain whenever he wants, given that he is not currently being investigated by the courts. 

The emeritus king abdicated in 2014 after a series of scandals, including the revelation that he had broken his hip on a hunting trip in Botswana accompanied by a former lover, despite Spaniards suffering from a severe economic downturn. 

In recent years there have been a series of podcasts and documentaries that revealed further allegations about his behaviour, including financial improprieties and extra-marital affairs.

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