Crime & Justice

Spain’s PM ‘disturbed’ by ‘uncivil’ behaviour of scandal-hit former king

Madrid, Feb 26 (efe-epa).- Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sánchez on Friday said he felt disturbed by the “uncivil” behavior of the country’s former king Juan Carlos I, who since last year has lived in self-exile in Abu Dhabi amid a storm of corruption allegations.

Sánchez made the remarks at a press conference after it was confirmed that the former head of state, who abdicated in favor of his son King Felipe VI in 2014, had made a payment of almost 4.4 million euros ($5.3M) to settle a backdated tax issue with Spanish authorities.

The latest financial agreement related to benefits he received from the Zagatka foundation between 2007-18, according to his lawyer. Created by the emeritus king’s distant cousin, Álvaro de Orléans-Borbón, the foundation was used to pay for services including private jets.

It was the second such payment made by Juan Carlos since he went into exile. His first, to the tune of 678,393 euros, was deposited with tax authorities in December.

Sánchez, head of the Socialist Party-led coalition, said he shared the sense of “disturbance” felt by many Spaniards regarding Juan Carlos’ “uncivil actions” but tried to draw a line under the issue.

“The current royal household has marked a before and after when it comes to transparency and the proper use of public resources,” he said, adding that Juan Carlos’ behavior was a singular case that could not be used to tarnish the institution as a whole.

In June last year, prosecutors at Spain’s Supreme Court opened a probe into allegations that Juan Carlos secured illegal commissions from a deal between a Spanish consortium and Saudi Arabia to build a high-speed track between Mecca and Medina.

Juan Carlos lost his immunity from prosecution in Spain when he abdicated. EFE-EPA


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