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MADRID: Spain's former king Juan Carlos, at the centre of an alleged $100-million corruption scandal, has reportedly fled to the Dominican Republic or Portugal after his shock announcement he was going into exile. The 82-year-old revealed on Monday that he had taken the decision to leave Spain to help his son, the current King Felipe VI, "exercise his responsibilities".

The letter, published on the royal palace's website, did not mention where the former king would go, nor when exactly he would leave the country. But on Tuesday, daily newspaper ABC reported that he left Spain on Sunday and flew to the Dominican Republic via Portugal.

The La Vanguardia and El Mundo dailies similarly said he planned to stay with friends in the Caribbean country, but online newspaper El Confidencial said he could be in Portugal, where he spent part of his youth, or in France or Italy. Asked by AFP about the reports, a royal palace spokesman refused to give any information about Juan Carlos's whereabouts.

"The only information we have is the information which was published on the website of the royal palace yesterday. It is the only information which we have," he said.

Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said he did not know where the former head of state had gone and suggested that King Felipe VI had pressured his father to go abroad.

"The government and I completely respect the decision of the royal palace to distance itself from the questionable and reprehensible conduct" of a member of the royal family, he added during a press conference.