Spanish public prosecutors have closed all the investigations that were underway against the financial affairs of former king Juan Carlos I, affected by the statute of limitations and the monarch's constitutional inviolability before the law. In response, the king emeritus has announced in a letter his decision to continue living for the moment in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, but to return to Spain - and "frequently". Despite this, prime minister Pedro Sánchez has repeated the same message: the letter is insufficient and the country's former head of state must give explanations to the Spanish people. On the other hand, the PM's own party, the PSOE, continue blocking all kinds of initiatives, such as the request for the retired monarch to appear before the Spanish parliament that was today registered by the pro-independence CUP party with the Congress of Deputies.
In an informal conversation with journalists while travelling to Latvia today, the Spanish PM explained that he had learned of the "sense" of Juan Carlos's letter to Felipe VI on Monday, the day the royal house made it public, although not of the "content" of it. "I acknowledged receiving it. But what is not acceptable is the information we have received, contained in the prosecutor's report, which is disappointing," said Pedro Sánchez, who has reiterated the same message over recent months: "He owes Spaniards some explanations."
However, the Spanish government has failed to specify how these explanations need to be given. "I will not get into the 'how', he is the one who has to decide how," said Sánchez, limiting himself to stating that the former king must "clarify the content of the prosecutor's report that portrays a series of conducts". Nor did he go into detail about the possible trips which the ex-monarch says he will make with some regularity to Spain.
For the moment, in Abu Dhabi
For the time being, however, Juan Carlos will continue living in Abu Dhabi, in the UAE, as he has done for the year and a half since he fled Spain under an enormous cloud. His intention to remain in the Gulf state was announced by the emeritus in a letter to his son, Felipe VI, published by the Spanish royal house on Monday. He asserts "private reasons" for maintaining his residence "on a permanent and stable basis" in the UAE. However, he does not close the door on a return to Spain in the future and states that his intention is to visit the country "frequently". There had been speculation that he would change his residence once the prosecutors decided to abandon all the investigations into his opaque financial affairs, as they did last week.
Only at the end of the letter does the man who was Spanish head of state for 38 years refer to "past events in his private life", which he "sincerely regrets". And in the text, he immediately follows this recalling his "legitimate pride" in his "contribution to democratic coexistence and freedom in Spain, the result of the collective effort and sacrifice of all Spanish people."