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Court clears way for princess trial

A Spanish court has cleared the way for Princess Cristina, the sister of King Felipe VI, to be tried on tax fraud charges in a landmark investigation affecting the royal family.

The Palma de Mallorca court paved the way for Cristina's indictment after rejecting appeals by the prosecution and the defence against her being listed as a suspect in a corruption and embezzlement investigation centring on her husband, Inaki Urdangarin.

Investigative judge Jose Castro must now decide whether to formally indict the princess.

He said Cristina is suspected of two counts of co-operation in tax fraud.

Cristina became the first Spanish royal to appear in court since the monarchy was restored in 1975 when she testified in the case in February.

A formal indictment might not necessarily go ahead as the state prosecutor and tax authorities say there is no basis for tax fraud charges against Cristina.

Her lawyers maintain that Spain's Supreme Court has ruled that people cannot be tried on tax charges if neither the prosecutor nor tax authorities present charges.

Urdangarin is suspected of embezzlement and fraud. He too has yet to be formally charged.

The case centres on allegations that he used his Duke of Palma title to embezzle about six million euros (£4.7 million) in public contracts through the Noos Institute, a non-profit foundation he and a business partner set up that channelled money to other businesses, including Aizoon, a company he owned with Cristina.

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