| 19 April 2024, Friday |

Spain’s Ex-King Juan Carlos settles tax debt of nearly 4.4 million euros

Spain’s scandal-hit Former King Juan Carlos I, who now lives in exile, has settled a debt of nearly 4.4 million euros ($5.3 million) with the Spanish Tax Authorities, his lawyer said Friday.

The settlement — the second of its kind in less than three months — renews questions over his financial affairs and further dents the reputation of the Spanish monarchy.

The back taxes were due on the value of private jet flights that were paid by a foundation based in Liechtenstein belonging to a distant cousin that are considered taxable income.

“Juan Carlos instructed me to disclose the fact that he submitted to the Tax Authorities a voluntary declaration that resulted in a tax debt of 4,395,901.96 euros,” his lawyer said in a letter, confirming press reports.

In December the 83-year-old former king, who has lived since August in self-imposed exile in the United Arab Emirates, settled a tax debt of nearly 680,000 euros ($820,000) following a voluntary declaration of previously undisclosed income.

That settlement is linked to a probe made public last month by Spain’s attorney general.

It investigated whether the scandal-hit former king used credit cards linked to accounts not registered in his name — which could constitute a possible money-laundering offence.

The credit card payments took place after Juan Carlos abdicated in 2014, which could mean that he is not shielded by the immunity from prosecution he enjoyed as head of state.

The Former King is the target of two other investigations over his financial dealings, including those linked to a high-speed train contract in Saudi Arabia.

Juan Carlos has not been charged with any crime, and his lawyers have said he would return to Spain if required for legal reasons.

A steady drip of revelations about the former king’s love life and lavish lifestyle, combined with the 2018 conviction of his son-in-law for tax fraud and embezzlement, have severely tainted the Spanish monarchy.

Since ascending to the throne in 2014, King Felipe VI has since taken steps to improve the monarchy’s image, such as imposing a “code of conduct” on royals.

  • AFP