Human Interest

Dominican Republic mum about Spanish ex-king’s whereabouts

La Romana, Dominican Republic, Aug 5 (efe-epa).- The Dominican Republic’s government offered no word Wednesday about the whereabouts of Spanish former King Juan Carlos I even as the media speculated he may already have taken up residence at Casa de Campo, a luxury resort complex in this city on the Caribbean country’s east coast.

No media are allowed inside that 2,830-hectare (7,000-acre) resort, and the handful of local and foreign journalists gathered at its main entrances have been unable to obtain any clear indication of his presence there.

Meanwhile, silence remained the only response of the Dominican president’s office to reporters’ questions about the 82-year-old ex-king, who announced Monday in a letter addressed to his son and successor, King Felipe VI, that he would be leaving his homeland.

Juan Carlos did not indicate his destination, although different Spanish media outlets have situated him either in the Dominican Republic or Portugal.

Spain’s government also has not informed the public of the whereabouts of the ex-king, who said he was relocating abroad “in the face of the public repercussions that certain past events in my private life are generating.”

Swiss prosecutors have confirmed a probe into whether an alleged gift of $100 million made in 2008 by Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah to Juan Carlos had in fact been a kickback related to a Spanish consortium’s multi-billion-dollar contract to build a high-speed railway between the Saudi cities of Mecca and Medina.

Prosecutors at Spain’s Supreme Court have also launched a probe into the allegedly opaque financial dealings.

He remains immune from prosecution for any actions committed prior to his 2014 abdication.

On Wednesday, an atmosphere of calm surrounded Casa de Campo, which is surrounded by a lush jungle landscape that served as one of the shooting locations for Francis Ford Coppola’s classic 1979 war film “Apocalypse Now.”

The managers of that exclusive resort community – located near the mouth of the Chavon River and co-owned by Pepe Fanjul, a personal friend of the former king – have refused to allow members of the media inside the complex.

Sources consulted by Efe at Casa de Campo have offered different versions about the situation inside the complex but have not confirmed the presence of the ex-king.

Two sources noted increased security and more worker activity in a sector where a group of mansions look out on a golf course.

But another source indicated there was nothing unusual inside the complex, a frequent gathering place for politicians, business leaders and celebrities who require high levels of both security and discretion.

Dominican newspaper Diario Libre, citing sources at Casa de Campo, said Wednesday that Juan Carlos I is in Portugal and has been welcomed there by the Brito e Cunha-Espirito Santo family. But it added that Fanjul has readied a villa for the former king in case he desires to settle down there.

Casa de Campo is an elite residential and tourist complex with dozens of mansions and vacation homes, hundreds of villas and a hotel; other attractions include three golf courses, a yacht marina, tennis courts, a polo ground, a soccer field, a shooting range and a small beach.

Juan Carlos has visited Casa de Campo several times at Fanjul’s invitation. Since 2015, a street inside the complex has borne his name.

Thus far, Dominican authorities have merely confirmed that the erstwhile king visited the country in early March, but without offering any other details.

On Tuesday, the General Directorate of Migration denied any record of the former king’s having entered the country since then.

Dominican authorities boast of safeguarding the privacy of VIP visitors, who are a source of revenue and help promote a tourism sector that accounts for roughly 8 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. EFE-EPA

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