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Spain’s former king Juan Carlos is in Dominican Republic

Former Spanish King Juan Carlos

Spain’s former king Juan Carlos has gone to the Dominican Republic after leaving his home country under a cloud of scandal, La Vanguardia and ABC newspapers reported on Tuesday, without citing sources.

Pressure had been building on the once-popular, now divisive, former king as Spanish and Swiss prosecutors investigated allegations of bribes over a high-speed rail contract.

He decided to leave the country to allow his son Felipe to rule untroubled, a palace statement said on Monday, without saying where he had gone.

La Vanguardia said the 82 year-old went to Portugal by car on Monday morning and flew from there to the Dominican Republic, where he plans to stay for a few weeks with a family who made their wealth in sugar plantations, before looking for a new destination.

Early reactions to Juan Carlos’ departure have shown Spain to be divided over whether the 82-year-old, who was a prominent figure in the transition to democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco, should have stayed to face justice.

Amid wide speculations over where he could have gone, Portuguese TV channel TVI24 and the Correio da Manha tabloid had said on Monday Juan Carlos was in Cascais, a resort area near Lisbon, where he spent part of his childhood. They did not cite any sources.

His lawyer said on Monday Juan Carlos would “remain at the disposal of the prosecutors’ office”.

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