Scandal-hit former king Juan Carlos faces new criminal investigation over ‘opaque credit cards’

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Spain‘s runaway former king is facing a new criminal probe over the use of credit cards linked to foreign accounts.

Spanish anti-corruption prosecutors are reportedly investigating Juan Carlos over expenditure in the years after his June 2014 abdication when he lost his constitutional protection against prosecution as a serving monarch.

Respected Spanish news website Eldiario.es says the probe extends to his wife Sofia and other relatives including some of their grandchildren, but not the country’s current king, his former journalist wife Letizia or their two teenage daughters.

The expenditure linked to the cards, said to have been paid from an account Juan Carlos and his family are not named on, is understood to correspond to the years 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Spanish anti-corruption prosecutors are reportedly investigating Juan Carlos (pictured with his wife Sofia in 2018) over expenditure in the years after his June 2014 abdication when he lost his constitutional protection against prosecution as a serving monarch

Spanish anti-corruption prosecutors are reportedly investigating Juan Carlos (pictured with his wife Sofia in 2018) over expenditure in the years after his June 2014 abdication when he lost his constitutional protection against prosecution as a serving monarch

Eldiario.es is reporting the expenses charged to the card the former Queen Consort allegedly used came from several trips to London.

The website’s claims have been widely echoed by other Spanish media, which have put a microscope on Juan Carlos’ personal life since he fled the country on August 3 and took a private plane to Abu Dhabi to check into a £10,000-a-night presidential suite at the seven-star Emirates Palace.

His departure from Spain comes after Swiss prosecutors opened an investigation into bank accounts allegedly held by Juan Carlos in tax havens.

Spain has launched its own investigation based in part on information shared by Switzerland about cash the former king allegedly received as part of his involvement in a high-speed Saudi Arabia rail contract.

The expenditure linked to the cards, said to have been paid from an account Juan Carlos and his family are not named on, is understood to correspond to the years 2016, 2017 and 2018

 The expenditure linked to the cards, said to have been paid from an account Juan Carlos and his family are not named on, is understood to correspond to the years 2016, 2017 and 2018

There has been no official comment so far from Spain’s Royal Household or state prosecutors to the latest reports about the ‘opaque’ credit cards.

Eldiario.es claims the investigation has so far managed to link an unnamed Mexican citizen and a retired police officer to the ongoing bank card probe.

Anti-corruption prosecutors are said to be awaiting answers to rogatory commissions seeking information from foreign governments about a possible tax fraud.

Juan Carlos’ shock departure from Spain at the start of August led to an intense questioning of the country’s monarchy led by its left-wing vice-president Pablo Iglesias.

Respected Spanish news website Eldiario.es says the probe extends to the former king's wife Sofia (pictured together in May 2004) and other relatives including some of their grandchildren, but not the country's current king, his former journalist wife Letizia or their two teenage daughters

Respected Spanish news website Eldiario.es says the probe extends to the former king’s wife Sofia (pictured together in May 2004) and other relatives including some of their grandchildren, but not the country’s current king, his former journalist wife Letizia or their two teenage daughters

The website's claims have been widely echoed by other Spanish media, which have put a microscope on Juan Carlos' personal life since he fled the country on August 3

The website’s claims have been widely echoed by other Spanish media, which have put a microscope on Juan Carlos’ personal life since he fled the country on August 3

Several interviews by the former king’s ex-mistress Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, now living in the UK, have not helped.

She was implicated in the scandal surrounding Juan Carlos’ rule after it emerged he had given her a gift of £58.5million (€65million).

The 56-year-old blonde has claimed he gave her the cash gift because he was ‘adamant about taking care of her.’

She also insisted in a recent TV interview Juan Carlos was the ‘architect of his own problems’ and described his Middle East exile as the ‘ultimate defeat.’

Spanish royal expert Pilar Eyre claimed shortly after the former king’s shock departure from Spain that he was ‘in the arms’ of another long-time mistress at his luxury hotel hideaway in Abu Dhabi.

In 2014, King Juan swiftly abdicated in favour of his son Felipe, but Corinna believes she was still being targeted by the Spanish royals. Pictured, King Felipe of Spain with wife Queen Letizia

In 2014, King Juan swiftly abdicated in favour of his son Felipe, but Corinna believes she was still being targeted by the Spanish royals. Pictured, King Felipe of Spain with wife Queen Letizia

Juan Carlos, in his letter to Spain’s current king Felipe VI announcing his decision to leave his homeland, wrote: ‘Guided by my conviction I can offer the best service to Spaniards, its institutions and to you as King, I am communicating my decision to move away from Spain.

‘It’s a decision I am taking with deep feeling but with great serenity.

‘I have been King of Spain for almost 40 years and during that whole time, I’ve always wanted the best for Spain and for the Crown.’

He signed off the letter: ‘With affection as always, your father.’

It later emerged he had already left Spain by the time the letter was released by the Royal Household.

His departure sparked mixed reactions, with monarchists and right-wing politicians accusing the government of forcing him into exile and critics of the former king accusing him of an amateur attempt to protect himself and his son from the corruption scandals threatening the future of Spain’s dwindling royal family.

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