The royal suspect: Spain's Princess Cristina linked to corruption scandal

 

Madrid

Spain's Royal Family lurched towards a new low point in what could be their most serious credibility crisis in decades when King Juan Carlos' daughter, Princess Cristina, was named as a suspect in a multimillion euro fraud and money-laundering case involving her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin.

For the first time since modern Spanish democracy began in the mid-1970s, an inside member of the country's monarchy, once blessed with a squeaky-clean reputation, will now have to respond to a court summons in Palma de Mallorca on 27 April.

As yet nobody has been charged in the case. But it has been gripping Spain for the past two years, thanks to a seemingly interminable spiral of allegations concerning Mr Urdangarin and the siphoning off of millions of euros of public money from regional government contracts to the supposedly non-profit making organisation, Nóos, he co-directed from 2004 to 2006.

Since 2011, a welter of gory financial details from the case – alleged tax dodges of more than half a million euros via an NGO for children with terminal illnesses, apparent charges of €700,000 for a 13-page financial report for a football club stadium and the liberal use of offshore companies in Belize and the UK – has been leaking steadily from Spain's judicial system on to the front pages.

The royal family have been trying to distance themselves from Mr Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball player who received the title of the Duke of Palma when he married Princess Cristina in 1997. More than a year ago, in December 2011, Mr Urdangarin was suspended from all official royal engagements. A royal spokesman then described his behaviour as "less than exemplary", his profile was removed from the royal website and his figure in Madrid's waxwork museum was shifted from the royalty tableau.

In two appearances in court in Palma de Mallorca, Mr Urdangarin has both proclaimed his innocence and insisted that his wife had no knowledge of his activities, despite her being a Nóos board member.

According to the Spanish media, emails have now emerged that appear to indicate that Princess Cristina had some degree of knowledge of her husband's financial affairs. Earlier this week a second attempt by Mr Urdangarin to have the emails, produced by his former business partner, Diego Torres, thrown out of court as invalid evidence was again rejected.

That was hardly good news for Mr Urdangarin. Nor was a demand, made last month, by presiding magistrate José Castro that he post a joint bond of €8.1m. And now, in a dramatic U-turn, after previously rejecting several calls for Princess Cristina to be declared a suspect, Mr Castro, has now decided that she should be.

According to El País, the 19-page court statement explaining his decision also says that "there is no evident indication that the Princess participated in the daily running of Nóos". But the statement also warned "the law is the same for everyone" – the same words used by the king in a 2011 Christmas address that was widely taken as a reference to his son-in-law.

When questioned about the latest development on Wednesday, a Spanish royal spokesman said that they do not comment on judicial decisions. Both of Spain's major parties, the PP and PSOE, have also avoided issuing statements.

The emails in question form part of dozens released by Mr Torres since April last year in what is widely seen as an attempt to avoid possible punishment by turning the spotlight on the royal involvement in Nóos.

Within hours of the news breaking, Spanish media had reported that the country's anti-corruption authorities would appeal against Princess Cristina's summons.

Fraud inquiry: The key names

Iñaki Urdangarin

The former Olympic handball player married Princess Cristina in 1997. He retired in 2000 and began running the not-for-profit Nóos Institute, organising sport-related events.

Princess Cristina

The youngest daughter of Juan Carlos is seventh in line to the throne. She runs social welfare programmes at a Barcelona-based charitable foundation.

Diego Torres

The former business school lecturer was Urdangarin’s partner in the Noos institute until the investigation intensified. He has released dozens of emails taken from Noos business archives concerning Urdangarin. He denies any wrongdoing.

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
Sport
Husain Abdullah returns an interception off Tom Brady for a touchdown
nflLeague has rules against 'sliding to ground on knees'
Life and Style
tech
Extras
indybest
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Java Developer - web services, XML and API

£330 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Lond...

Maths Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Reading: Maths Teacher required to teach Furthe...

Primary teachers required for schools in Norwich

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary teachers requ...

Trainee Helpdesk Analyst / 1st Line Application Support Analyst

£18000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style