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Spain's ex-king pays tax debt amid ongoing financial probes

FILE - In this Saturday, May 4, 2019 file photo, Spain's former King Juan Carlos, leaves the Notre Dame cathedral after attending at the funeral of the Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg, in Luxembourg. The law firm representing Juan Carlos I said Wednesday Dec. 9, 2020, that the former monarch has paid off a debt of nearly 680,000 euros (dollars 821,000) following a voluntary declaration of previously undisclosed income to Spains tax authorities. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, FILE) (Francisco Seco, Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

MADRID – The law firm representing Juan Carlos I said Wednesday that Spain’s former monarch has paid tax authorities nearly 680,000 euros ($821,000) following a voluntary declaration of previously undisclosed income.

The former king now lives in Abu Dhabi, where he moved in August amid a deepening financial scandal.

His lawyer in Madrid, Javier Sánchez-Junco, said in an e-mailed statement that Juan Carlos I filed a self-declaration of undeclared past income and had paid by Wednesday the ensuing debt of 678,393.72 euros.

The former king moved to the United Arab Emirates after it emerged that he had become the target of official investigations by prosecutors in Spain and Switzerland for possible financial wrongdoing.

His lawyer said Wednesday that Juan Carlos I “remains, as he has always been, available for prosecutors, for any procedure or action that they may take.”

The Spanish government had said that the former monarch deserved no special treatment by the country’s legal system.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said that the scrutiny of the former monarch’s finances was proof of good governance and the separation of powers.

“As the government, we can guarantee that all the mechanisms of democracy are working,” Sánchez said in an interview with Spanish television Telecinco. “The investigation will reach its conclusion with transparency.”

The possible financial wrongdoing and Juan Carlos I’s move to Abu Dhabi had caused unease in the coalition government and royal household, giving ammunition to those who want the monarchy abolished.

Sánchez reiterated the support of his center-left Socialist Party for maintaining the parliamentary monarchy that has ruled Spain since the end of the dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco in the late 1970s.

“Spain’s parliamentary monarchy is not in danger,” Sánchez said.