King of Spain casts out son-in-law hit by scandal


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The Independent Online

The King of Spain's son-in-law has been suspended from royal duties after being implicated in a corruption scandal that is threatening to tarnish the image of the country's monarchy.

Iñaki Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball player who married King Juan Carlos's youngest daughter, the Infanta Cristina, in 1997, is in the spotlight amid an inquiry into the embezzlement of public funds by a non-profit foundation of which he was co-president.

Sources close to the case have told Spanish media that he will be formally declared a suspect early in the new year. Yesterday, the Royal Family said the US-based father-of-four, known as the Duke Consort of Palma de Mallorca, would no longer be taking part in any official ceremonies. "His behaviour does not seem to be exemplary," said a spokesman for the Zarzuela Palace, in the Royal Family's first official comment on the matter yesterday.

A police inquiry has revealed a financial black hole at Noos, with allegations that it over-profited from a range of activities. The money was then channelled to tax havens, including Belize.

Mr Urdangarin claims he is innocent. He said at the weekend that he regretted "the huge damage the information in the media about my professional activities might have caused to the image of the monarchy and family".