Spain’s Pedro Sánchez: I don’t know where Juan Carlos is

Spain’s Former King Juan Carlos | Curto De La Torre/AFP via Getty Images

‘What matters is that Juan Carlos has said he will be at the disposal of the prosecuting service and the justice,’ says PM.

The Spanish prime minister said he does not know the whereabouts of Juan Carlos, a day after the former king announced he was leaving the country and despite media reports suggesting he is in either Portugal or the Dominican Republic.

In a press conference after chairing Cabinet on Tuesday, Pedro Sánchez told journalists he “did not have information” about Juan Carlos’ whereabouts.

Juan Carlos said he was leaving the country amid an ongoing scandal over alleged tax evasion. The move comes after Spanish press reported that he had received €64.8 million in 2008 from Saudi Arabia via an offshore account. Tax authorities in Switzerland have provided information to the Spanish judicial system about the former king’s financial dealings, leading to questions about his activities after June 2014, when he abdicated and lost his immunity.

Asked on several occasions to clarify which country the former king might have chosen as his new residence, Sánchez said: “What matters is that Juan Carlos has said he will be at the disposal of the prosecuting service and the justice.”

Sánchez insisted he had to protect the “confidentiality” of his conversations with the Zarzuela Palace and that any questions about the location of the former king should be answered by the royal family. He did not clarify whether Spanish taxpayers will pay for Juan Carlos’ security while abroad.

The prime minister backed the decision made by the former king and insisted Spain “needs stability and robust institutions.”

Discussing his government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sánchez said Spain will overcome the economic crisis by 2023 and predicted that the pace of recovery will accelerate next year. He said the Spanish economy will grow based on four key areas — digitalization, energy transition, cohesion and “not leaving anyone behind.”

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