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Infanta Cristina


Princess Cristina of Spain has been cleared in a tax fraud trial.

The 51-year-old is the older sister of King Felipe and sixth in line to Spain’s throne.

Her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, was given a 6-year-and-three-month jail term by the court in Majorca.

Inaki Urdangarin, 49, was accused of using his royal connections to generate business income used for private spending.

The case began in 2010 and became symbolic of perceived corruption among Spain’s elites, including the royals.

There were 16 other defendants in the case, including former government minister Jaume Matas, who was sentenced to three years and eight months.

Inaki Urdangarin’s former business partner, Diego Torres, was given 8 years and six months. Nine defendants in all were acquitted.

Princess Cristina, who now lives in Switzerland, was the first member of Spain’s royal family to go on trial since the monarchy’s restoration in 1975.

In 2015, King Felipe VI stripped her and her husband of their titles as Duke and Duchess of Palma de Mallorca.

Although Princess Cristina was absolved, she will still have to pay a fine of €265,000 ($282,000) as she has civil responsibility for benefiting, albeit unknowingly, from illegal gains.

Princess Cristina and Inaki Urdangarin were not in court for the verdict, which is subject to appeal. Both had denied wrongdoing.

The princess had been accused of being an accessory to tax fraud.

Public prosecutors had declined to press charges against Princess Cristina but the three judges agreed to continue with the prosecution using evidence filed by the anti-corruption group Manos Limpias, meaning “Clean Hands”.

Last March, Princess Cristina told the court that her husband was in charge of family finances, saying: “I didn’t get involved in that.”

Inaki Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball medalist, had faced a slew of more serious charges.

He was accused of using the non-profit Noos Institute sports foundation he ran as a vehicle to win falsely inflated contracts from regional government bodies, before channeling the money to personal accounts via tax havens.

Noos is alleged to have received more than €6 million ($6.5 million) of public money, most of it from the Balearic Islands and Valencia regional governments.

One of the companies said to have received money, real estate firm Aizoon, was jointly owned by Princess Cristina and Inaki Urdangarin.


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King Felipe VI of Spain has stripped sister Princess Cristina of her title as Duchess of Palma ahead of her tax fraud trial.

Infanta Cristina, who is to go on trial charged with tax evasion, was granted the Duchess of Palma de Mallorca title in 1997 when she married Inaki Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball player who is also accused of tax evasion.

Princess Cristina had asked King Felipe to remove her title, her lawyer said.

However, the royal palace said the king made the decision before seeing her request. Princess Cristina denies the tax fraud charges.Princess Cristina and Iñaki Urdangarin

In the year since King Felipe, 47, succeeded his father, King Juan Carlos, to the throne, he has excluded Princess Cristina de Borbon and her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, who faces a wider array of corruption charges in the case, from the royal family’s official functions.

Prosecutors in Palma de Mallorca have long been investigating the business dealings of Inaki Urdangarin.

Inaki Urdangarin stands accused with 15 others of embezzling 5.6 million euros ($6 million) of public money from the Noos Institute – a charitable sports foundation he ran with a business partner. Princess Cristina is accused of involvement in the alleged scam.

It is the first time in modern Spain’s history that a member of the royal family has faced court cross-examination in a major corruption scandal.

Princess Cristina, 50, is the youngest daughter of former King Juan Carlos, who abdicated last year.

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

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.

The Spanish parliament has backed the abdication of King Juan Carlos and accession of his son Crown Prince Felipe by a large majority.

The succession had the backing of both the ruling centre-right Popular Party and the opposition Socialist party despite some Socialist misgivings.

Radical leftists in the chamber had demanded a referendum.

Madrid and other cities have seen anti-monarchy rallies since King Juan Carlos, 76, announced on June 2 he would step down.

King Juan Carlos said he was abdicating after nearly 40 years on the throne to make way for a “new generation”.

The government says parliament has to approve the transition as it requires a change in the 1978 constitution.

Referendum campaigners reacted furiously to the vote on Twitter, with the topic “We want to vote” quickly trending.

Spain’s crown prince is expected to be proclaimed King Felipe VI on June 19

Spain’s crown prince is expected to be proclaimed King Felipe VI on June 19 (photo AFP)

The bill was passed in Congress by 299 votes in favor to 19 against, and 23 abstentions.

It will now have to be approved by the upper house of parliament, the Senate, which is expected to vote on June 17. The prince is expected to be proclaimed King Felipe VI on June 19.

Opening the debate on Wednesday, PM Mariano Rajoy defended “the continuity of the institutions”, saying the “form of the state ” was not up for discussion.

“We are not here to modify facts but to underline with our bill that in Spain we rely on a resolutely democratic parliamentary monarchy,” he said.

Opinion polls published at the weekend give a mixed picture of sentiment among Spaniards.

A poll for the centre-left daily El Pais suggested 62% of people wanted a referendum, while 49% would favor the continuation of the monarchy under Felipe, compared with 36% who would back a republic.

Another poll, for the centre-right El Mundo, suggested 55.7% backed the monarchy and 72.9% thought Felipe would make a good king.

Felipe will inherit the throne at a time when Spain is struggling with high unemployment and growing demands for independence for Catalonia.

For much of King Juan Carlos’s reign, he was seen as one of the world’s most popular monarchs, but recently many Spaniards lost confidence in him.

In part, a long-running corruption investigation into the business dealings of King Juan Carlos’ daughter, Infanta Cristina, and her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, tarnished the monarchy’s reputation.

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Princess Cristina of Spain is due to be questioned in court in connection with a corruption scandal involving the business dealings of her husband Inaki Urdangarin.

It will be the first time in history that a member of Spain’s royal family has appeared in court as the subject of a criminal investigation.

Inaki Urdangarin is alleged to have defrauded regional governments of millions of euros of public money.

Infanta Cristina and Inaki Urdangarin deny any wrongdoing, and have not been charged.

Spain’s royal household admits the case has damaged the reputation and credibility of Spain’s royals, and, partly because of this scandal, the popularity of King Juan Carlos has fallen in recent years.

Pro-republican campaigners have vowed to demonstrate near the court.

Princess Cristina of Spain is due to be questioned in court in connection with a corruption scandal involving the business dealings of her husband Inaki Urdangarin

Princess Cristina of Spain is due to be questioned in court in connection with a corruption scandal involving the business dealings of her husband Inaki Urdangarin

Princess Cristina, 48, will be accompanied by her lawyer as she answers dozens of questions from a judge in a closed-door hearing.

Proceedings are set to start at 10:00 local time at the main court building in Palma de Mallorca, capital of the Balearic Islands.

The judge has named her as a fraud and money-laundering suspect.

The allegations relate to a supposedly not-for-profit organization called Noos, of which Inaki Urdangarin was president.

The foundation staged a series of sporting events for the regional governments of the Balearic Islands and Valencia.

Inaki Urdangarin is accused of organizing the events at hugely inflated prices.

With a former business partner, he is alleged to have received a total of 5.6 million euros ($7.5 million) in public money.

Princess Cristina is suspected of spending some of that money on personal expenses.

There are also questions about what Princess Cristina knew about the alleged wrongdoing of her husband.

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Infanta Cristina, the youngest daughter of King Juan Carlos of Spain, has been summoned to appear in court over accusations of fraud and money-laundering.

The 48-year-old Spanish princess has been linked to the business affairs of her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, who is being investigated for alleged embezzlement.

Infanta Cristina, the youngest daughter of King Juan Carlos of Spain, has been summoned to appear in court over accusations of fraud and money-laundering

Infanta Cristina, the youngest daughter of King Juan Carlos of Spain, has been summoned to appear in court over accusations of fraud and money-laundering

Infanta Cristina, Duchess of Palma de Mallorca, is now a formal suspect and should appear in court on March 8.

It is believed to be the first time a direct relative of the king will appear in court accused of wrongdoing.

A judge in Spain has ordered properties belonging to King Juan Carlos’ son-in-law Inaki Urdangarin to be impounded amid a corruption scandal that has embarrassed the royal family.

Inaki Urdangarin, the Duke of Palma, is suspected of misusing millions of euros in public funds that were given to a charitable foundation he ran.

The judge ordered the seizure to cover a 6.1 million euro ($8.2 million) bond for the duke’s liability in the case.

Inaki Urdangarin has denied wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crime.

The former Olympic handball player is married to King Juan Carlos’s second child, the Infanta Cristina.

Inaki Urdangarin is married to King Juan Carlos's second child, the Infanta Cristina

Inaki Urdangarin is married to King Juan Carlos’s second child, the Infanta Cristina

One of the properties targeted by the judge is a large luxury house on the outskirts of Barcelona belonging to the duke and Princess Cristina.

Several other properties belonging to them in the Balearic Islands and in north-east Spain have also been seized.

Inaki Urdangarin and his former business partner Diego Torres are suspected of siphoning off money given by regional governments to the Noos Institute to organize sporting events.

It is alleged that some of the money ended up in companies controlled by the duke and in offshore bank accounts.

The events allegedly happened between 2004 and 2006, when the duke stepped down as head of the institute.

Diego Torres has also denied any wrongdoing.

Inaki Urdangarin was suspended from official royal engagements in December last year.

Infanta Cristina, who is seventh in line to the throne and also denies any wrongdoing, recently moved to Switzerland in the hope of shielding the couple’s children from unwanted media attention.

King Juan Carlos is credited with guiding Spain’s transition to democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.