Ex-Spanish King Juan Carlos pays back multi-million euro tax bill amid corruption scandal

Spain’s former King Juan Carlos I has paid back his second tax bill after fleeing to the United Arab Emirates following his 2014 abdication in favor of his son Felipe VI amid fear of prosecution over a corruption scandal.

The payment of €4.4 million ($4.9 million) was confirmed by the former king’s lawyer on Friday, marking the second time in recent months that Juan Carlos has handed over money as part of a voluntary settlement to authorities. The latest figure was related to travel costs and expenses that were covered by a foundation of which he was a beneficiary.

Back in December, Juan Carlos agreed to make a payment of more than €678,000 to tax officials over allegations of illegal credit card transactions to avoid a criminal investigation being opened into his actions and potentially allowing him to return to Spain without concerns about being arrested. 

Juan Carlos has been living in the United Arab Emirates following his decision to flee Spain in August 2020 after authorities linked him to an investigation into allegations of corruption during his reign. Although, he has claimed he would be willing to cooperate with prosecutors if asked.  

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The investigation has focused on the awarding of a high-speed rail contract in Saudi Arabia, which saw Spanish companies secure a €6.7 billion ($8.12 billion) deal. Anti-corruption investigators have suggested that they believe Carlos might have kept some funds hidden in Switzerland from the agreement.

Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo said that the government was not able to speak about any specific cases related to citizens. However, he stated that “no one is allowed to break the law,” in remarks that were seen as targeted at the former monarch. 

Juan Carlos has refused to comment on the allegations of corruption, as well as agreements with tax authorities, choosing only to confirm the settlements that have been paid through his lawyer. 

King Felipe VI, who replaced his father in 2014, has also declined to comment on the ongoing reports of investigation and the recent developments related to Juan Carlos.

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