An investigating judge recommended that Princess Cristina of Spain, sister of King Felipe VI, be charged in a tax fraud and money laundering case that has helped inflame opposition to the monarchy.
Infanta Cristina, 49, was questioned in court in February about the business dealings of her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, and could now face trial.
However, an appeal has been lodged against the decision.
The judge’s ruling will come as an embarrassment to Felipe VI, who came to the throne only six days ago.
The tax fraud case was one of several scandals that weakened the popularity of the Spanish monarchy and prompted the abdication of King Juan Carlos.
Princess Cristina’s appearance in court in Mallorca was unprecedented for the royal family and if she goes to trial, she could face up to 11 years in jail.
Princess Cristina’s appearance in court in Mallorca was unprecedented for the royal family and if she goes to trial
The investigating judge’s decision is a major development in this investigation and a huge embarrassment for the Spanish royal family.
Judge Jose Castro believes Infanta Cristina knew more than she has let on regarding the allegedly corrupt activities of her husband, Inaki Urdangarin.
This inquiry has now lasted more than three years and during that time it has heavily eroded the popularity of the royal family. Princess Cristina has already appeared in court to testify, but the door is now open for her to face trial, which would take the scandal to a new level.
Judge Jose Castro has been investigating allegations that the princess’s husband embezzled millions in public funds with a former business partner.
Inaki Urdangarin, who is the Duke of Palma, and Diego Torres were alleged to have received 5.6 million euros ($7.5 million) by overcharging regional governments for organizing sporting events as part of a not-for-profit organization called Noos.
Announcing his decision, Judge Jose Castro said the princess should be tried alongside her husband and other suspects.
Anti-corruption prosecutors had already opposed his decision to name Princess Cristina as a suspect, saying there was insufficient evidence against her. Prosecutor Pedro Horrach said on Wednesday an appeal was being lodged “because there is still no piece [of evidence] against” the princess.
A final decision on whether Princess Cristina should stand trial will be made by the provincial court at Palma de Mallorca.
King Juan Carlos of Spain signed the bill of his abdication in favor of his son, Crown Prince Felipe.
King Juan Carlos, 76, signed the bill at a ceremony in the Royal Palace in Madrid, which was attended by only 160 guests.
At midnight local time, Crown Prince Felipe, 46, will become king although the event will not be marked in public until Thursday morning.
The succession was endorsed by both of Spain’s main political parties.
Before the signing, King Juan Carlos sat with Queen Sofia to his right and Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia to his left as the content of the law was read out.
King Juan Carlos of Spain signed the bill of his abdication in favor of his son, Crown Prince Felipe
After Juan Carlos had signed the document that will end his rule, PM Mariano Rajoy also signed the law. Moments later, the assembled guests applauded, the prince’s two daughters joined the royal group and the national anthem was played.
Prince Felipe will head to the lower house of the Spanish parliament on Thursday for the first royal transition the country has seen since democracy was restored after the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975.
The ceremony at 10:30 local time will take the form of a proclamation rather than a coronation, in part because of the economic hardship that many Spaniards have experienced in recent years.
Juan Carlos, who has been king for 39 years, formally brought his reign to an end in the Hall of Columns at the 18th Century royal palace, the same room in which Gen. Francisco Franco’s body lay in state in November 1975.
Father and son both wore suits which bore the insignia of the order of the golden fleece, Spanish media reported.
King Juan Carlos announced his decision to abdicate on June 2, saying that a “new generation must be at the forefront… younger people with new energies”.
Although he was for many years a popular monarch, King Juan Carlos reputation has taken a knock from a corruption investigation into the business dealings his daughter’s husband and an lavish elephant hunting trip he took to Botswana in April 2012 in the midst of Spain’s financial crisis,
As Juan Carlos was Spain’s first ruling monarch for 44 years, a new law of abdication had to be passed by both houses of parliament under the country’s 1978 constitution.