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Fit for a king? Spanish ex-monarch Juan Carlos has fled to luxury Abu Dhabi hotel amid Saudi corruption scandal, report says

Christophe SIMON / AFP
Juan Carlos, the former king of Spain, has reportedly been staying at a lavish hotel – one of the world’s most expensive – in the United Arab Emirates, after fleeing his country amid mounting corruption allegations.

Ever since the ex-monarch made the surprise move of leaving Spain on Monday, without saying why or clarifying his route, speculation has been mounting throughout the media. Now, Spanish newspaper ABC claims to have exclusive information on Juan Carlos' destination. The outlet suggests that the former king self-exiled on Monday via a rented €50 million Global 6500 private jet.

RT

The 82-year-old royal was picked up on Monday in the northwestern Spanish city of Vigo by a plane initially travelling from Paris to Abu Dhabi, making it quite the detour. Juan Carlos traveled in the same way a celebrity would: by altering the flight pass along the way in order to elude the press.

That same day, the former king landed in Abu Dhabi's Al Bateen Executive Airport, which is used exclusively for private flights arriving in the capital of the United Arab Emirates. From there he took a helicopter to the Emirates Palace Hotel, one of the most expensive in the world, owned by the country's government.

The hotel is promoted as a massive 850,000-square-meter establishment with a private beach and six presidential suites that cost around €11 thousand a night. It is in one of these that the royal is currently staying, ABC says.

The place is considered a “paparazzi-proof fortress” and had already been secured by private forces provided by Juan Carlos' personal friend, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. According to ABC's sources, the Spanish ex-monarch has a great relationship with the Emirates' own royalty, and this is not his first stay at the luxurious hotel.

The ex-monarch's lawyer, the royal family and the government are still refusing to comment on his whereabouts.

Juan Carlos' departure came right after the Supreme Court opened a preliminary investigation into the former king's involvement in a high-speed rail contract in Saudi Arabia. Though Juan Carlos himself is not under investigation, he might later become so, as the court is probing the $100 million he allegedly received as a kickback from the deal.

Also on rt.com Former Spanish king announces he’s leaving country after Saudi rail corruption scandal explodes

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