Juan Carlos, Spain’s former king, is to make his first return to the country in nearly two years after going into exile during a corruption scandal.
The 84-year-old, who left Spain in August 2020 when being investigated by prosecutors at the country’s Supreme Court over alleged financial crimes, is expected to attend a sailing regatta in Sanxenxo, north-western Spain.
His impending return may also include a clear-the-air meeting with his son King Felipe, who succeeded him following his abdication in 2014.
Fernando Onega, a journalist and biographer of Juan Carlos, said the former king would be in Sanxenxo on Saturday.
Spain’s royal household has not confirmed his plans, but said King Felipe had spoken with his father about what would be their first meeting since he took up residence in Abu Dhabi.
King Felipe and Juan Carlos had “arranged to meet in Madrid”, the royal household said, explaining that Felipe had phoned his father from the UAE, to which he flew to pay his respects after the death of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed.
A book on Juan Carlos based on interviews with him in Abu Dhabi by Laurence Debray, a French writer, says the personal relationship between King Felipe and his father is “broken”.
While the two are expected to meet at Madrid’s Zarzuela Palace, which for decades was the official residence of Juan Carlos, the former monarch has already said he will use only private homes for his visits to Spain while maintaining his island residence in Abu Dhabi.
Pedro Sanchez, the Spanish prime minister, has previously said Juan Carlos “owes explanations” to Spaniards for offshore funds he accumulated in Switzerland and the Channel Islands.
The announcement of the impending visit came after the Supreme Court said Juan Carlos could not be tried for alleged tax fraud because he is immune from prosecution for any actions prior to his abdication.
Another Spanish court last week shelved an investigation into allegations of bribery and kickbacks related to a high-speed train deal in Saudi Arabia, which had been suggested was linked to a $100 million “gift” Juan Carlos received from a Saudi monarch in 2008.
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