Spain’s Princess Infanta Cristina Faces Corruption Enquiry
Spain’s Princess Cristina has been summoned to appear in court concerning allegations that her husband misapplied millions of euros of public money. It is thought to be the first court summons for a direct descendant of the Spanish king. Princess Cristina is King Juan Carlos’s youngest daughter.
Her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, refutes any wrongful conduct and hasn’t been accused. He is however suspected of having hugely overcharged local authorities for coordinating sports events.
Princess Cristina has been called to appear in court in Palma de Mallorca, in the Balearic Islands, on 27 April.
Emails have emerged intimating that the princess was aware of her husband’s fiscal affairs, Spain’s El Pais newspaper stated.
Inaki Urdangarin, the Duke of Palma, is a 45-year-old onetime Olympic handball player. He was suspended from formal royal engagements in December.
The duke and his previous business partner Diego Torres, are under suspicion of siphoning off income committed by regional governments to the Noos Institute to coordinate sports events.
It is supposed that some of the money wound up in companies possessed by the duke and in offshore bank accounts
Prosecutor Asks Infanta Cristina to Not be Charged in Husband’s Case
It was requested Monday that Infanta Cristina, the second daughter of King Juan Carlos, to not be charged in the context of the investigation focused on the alleged irregularities committed by her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, the Duke of Palma.
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This is the second time the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor, Pedro Horrach, requested for the Infanta not to be charged due to lack of evidence that she was involved or knew of Urdangarin’s alleged fraudulent activities. The Duke is being charged with stealing millions of euros from the non-profit Noos Institutos from between 2004 and 2006.
At the moment, the Provincial Court in the Balearic Islands will decide whether or not Cristina should be charged. Judge Jose Castro rejected a request by the Manos Limpias (Clean Hands) to not charge her on March 5th, and did the same when Horrach initially requested on March 21st.
Although Infanta Cristina is co-owner of 50 percent of the commercial Aizoon SL – one of the companies investigated in this case, COPE.es reports Horrach claims she “does not hold any executive position so their relationship is only corporate level.”
“The management and administration of this company is held by her spouse, Inaki Urdangarin”, stressed the representative of Corruption.
It looks like Manos Limpias will turn to a higher court to overturn or confirm the decision of Judge Castro.
In Spain, Manos Limpias is a trade union that represents public service employees.
Urdangarin is set to face four separate charges over this fraudulent case: defrauding the exchequer, falsifying documents, misappropriation of public funds and prevarication.
Sources: El Mundo, COPE.es, The Independent (UK)
Iñaki Urdangarin to Appear in Court
Iñaki Urdangarin, the son-in-law of Spain’s King Juan Carlos, is due to appear before a judge in early February because of his alleged ties to a corruption scandal.
Urdangarin, known as the Duke of Palma and married to Infanta Cristina, is being investigated for abusing public funds he received on behalf of a non-profit organization he ran between 2004 and 2006. But the exact accusations have not yet been revealed.
The AFP is reporting that the King forced the Duke to step down from Instituto Noos in 2006.
“(The King) ordered him to stand down from his activities and he sold his shares,” said an official, who works at the royal palace’s press office.
“He was told he shouldn’t work for himself and it would be better if he worked overseas.”
Iñaki now works for Telefonica, a telecommunications company, and is based in Washington, DC.
In addition this week, the Spanish royal family exposed their budget on their website.
King Juan Carlos is paid €292,752 annually by the state and pays 40% tax on his income.
The heir to the throne, Prince Felipe, gets €146,376. Queen Sofia and the three princesses – Infantas Elena, Cristina and Princess Letizia – get €375,000 each. The total budget for the royal family was €8.4 million this year.
The royal palace denies the family were obligated to reveal their finances and insist the royals did so for the sake of modernization.
Sources: BBC, AFP
Spanish Royals Attend Opening of Parliament
On Tuesday, Spain witnessed the opening of the Xth legislature, of democracy or its opening of Parliament. King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofia, Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia were in attendance for the event.
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Not in attendance for the first time since 1979 were the King’s two daughters, Infantas Elena and Cristina. Many wondered if their absence was linked to Cristina’s husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, and his ties to a corruption scandal. Urdangarin has been excluded from the royal family because of it.
“They did not accept their invitation (to attend) for different reasons,” a royal palace communications official said. “It is their decision.”
In his speech to the new legislature, King Juan Carlos reiterated what he said during his Christmas Eve speech to the nation – such as its “responsibility to strengthen trust in the institutions” of Spain. He also added that no public figure was above the law, another echo of the previous speech.
His Majesty also spoke about the high unemployment rate. “All of you, deputies and senators, are united in the obligation to contribute with decisiveness and efficacy to getting over this crisis and its negative effects on citizens,” he said.
Sources: AFP, Hoy Mujer
Release of Spanish Christmas Photos
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The three children of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain have released the Christmas photographs of their families. Infanta Elena, Infanta Cristina and Prince Felipe all are showing how much their children have grown up.
Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia posed with their two daughters, Infantas Leonor and Sofia. The couple switch each pose each year. One year, their Christmas photo has just their two girls, the next year has their parents with them, and repeat.
Meanwhile, Elena used a photo of her two children, Felipe Frolian and Victoria, without her.
Infanta Cristina used a picture from third son’s Juan’s first communion this year. Some royal fans were disappointed not to see an original photo. However, it should be noted husband Iñaki Urdangarin is in this. Urdangarin is caught up in a scandal that caused him to be removed from the royal family.
Iñaki Urdangarin Banned from Royal Activities
The son-in-law to King Juan Carlos of Spain has been frozen out of the royal family following his connections to a fraud scandal.
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Iñaki Urdangarin, the Duke of Palma and husband to the King’s youngest daughter, Infanta Cristina, has been named as one of the players in an embezzlement of public funds while being head of a non-profit company, Instituto Noos. The money was used to set up a tourism and sports event in 2005 and 2006.
Urdangarin’s behavior “does not seem exemplary” and he has agreed to be removed from official royal activities, Spanish media quoted Rafael Spottorno, the head of the king’s household, as saying.
His lawyer Mario Pascual Vives said the Duke “is worried, saddened and rather indignant at what is coming out in the media” but insists he is innocent.
“He is concerned. I would say sorrowful is the word and maybe also indignant. Why not?” Mario Pascual said on state television. “He will always clearly feel his conviction he is fully innocent.”
In addition, the Spanish royals will publish on their official website how they spend taxpayer’s money at the end of this year.
For 2011, the royal family had a budget of €8.43 million or $11 million, which is five percent less than in 2010.
This scandal has caused much disgruntlement in Spain, where there is 20 percent unemployment. While King Juan Carlos is widely respected for supporting democracy during the country’s transition from the death of dictator Francisco Franco, there are reports that support for the monarchy has slipped.
Source: AFP, New York Times, Reuters Canada