Spain's former king pays back taxes after leaving amid scandal

Spain's former king pays back taxes after leaving amid scandal

Spain's King Juan Carlos
Spain's King Juan Carlos leaves after attending the funeral ceremony of Luxembourg's Grand Duke Jean at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Luxembourg, May 4, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Francois Lenoir)

MADRID: Spain's former king Juan Carlos, who left his homeland under a cloud of scandal in August, has settled a back tax bill worth over €678,000 (US$817,871) including interest and fines, his lawyers said on Wednesday (Dec 9).

The lawyers, in a statement, provided no details on what the back taxes were for. But the newspaper El Pais said earlier the former monarch sought to settle certain alleged illegal credit card transactions with the revenue service to avoid being charged in an investigation and to be able to return to Spain.

"In any case, His Majesty King Juan Carlos remains, as always, at the Tax Service's disposal for any procedure it considers necessary," the lawyers said.

Prosecutors at Spain's Supreme Court have opened several investigations into Juan Carlos' business dealings, including those linked to a high-speed train contract in Saudi Arabia.

Juan Carlos' son, King Felipe, is the current head of state.

"The monarchy is not in danger," Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told TV channel Telecinco in an interview, when asked about the scandals involving Juan Carlos, whose formal title is the King Emeritus.

Sanchez defended the system of Spain's constitutional monarchy and called for respect for the "presumption of innocence" in the face of judicial investigations of the former monarch.

Juan Carlos has been living in United Arab Emirates since he left Spain.

Through his lawyers, he has repeatedly declined to comment on corruption allegations. Spanish monarchs have immunity during their reign but Juan Carlos' abdication in 2014 in favour of his son potentially leaves him vulnerable to prosecution.

Source: Reuters