Former king to visit Spain after 2020 departure amid scandal

FILE PHOTO: Spain's King Juan Carlos and his son Crown Prince Felipe (R) hug each other as they attend the signature ceremony of the act of abdication at the Royal Palace in Madrid, June 18, 2014. REUTERS/Juan Medina

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's former King Juan Carlos will travel to his country this weekend for the first time since leaving for the United Arab Emirates in August, 2020 under a cloud of scandal, the mayor of the town he is visiting for a boating event said on Tuesday.

Juan Carlos, 84, said in March he was maintaining his residence in the UAE although he would visit Spain frequently after Spanish and Swiss prosecutors dropped a series of investigations into alleged fraud.

Once revered for his role in Spain's transition to democracy, Juan Carlos abdicated in 2014 following a number of scandals including his affair with Danish national Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein Sayn. He is now seen as a liability for his son, King Felipe.

Juan Carlos could face trial in Britain in a harassment case brought against him by his former lover.

The former king will visit the municipality of Sanxenxo in the northern region of Galicia this weekend to attend a regatta, Sanxenxo Mayor Telmo Martin told state broadcaster TVE.

"After almost two years of not being among us, it will be an opportunity to show him the affection we feel for him," Martin said.

Martin said he did not know if the king emeritus, which is his title after the abdication, would participate in the sailing race his boat is expected to take part in.

The Royal House said it could not confirm the visit and that it was up to Juan Carlos to make public any plans he has.

(Reporting by Emma Pinedo, editing by Andrei Khalip and Ed Osmond)

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