Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

King's daughter named as a suspect

Spain's princess Cristina has ben named as a suspect in a fraud case (AP)

A Spanish court has named the king's daughter princess Cristina as a suspect in a corruption case involving her husband.

The Palma de Mallorca court said that the princess is to be called in for questioning on April 27.

The case involves allegations that her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, and his former business partner funneled about 5 million euros (£4.25 million) in public funds to companies they controlled.

The royal palace refused to comment. The princess has not been charged with any offence.

Investigating magistrate Judge Jose Castro said she was a board member of two of her husband's companies and that there were indications that she was aware that her husband used her name and status in his dealings, from which both benefited. He said that for the probe to be complete and to show that justice treats all equally she would have to be questioned.

Urdangarin has not been charged with a crime, but is a suspect in the case. He has been questioned twice by Judge Castro since the probe began two years ago.

The judge recently set joint bail of E8.2 million for Urdangarin and his business partner Diego Torres and said the two "ignored the rules of public contracting as long as they achieved their aim, which was no other than to divert public funds for their own benefit or that of others."

He said the two agreed to make as much as possible out of Urdangarin's relationship with the Royal Palace in their dealings with public and private entities.

Urdangarin, 45, is a former professional and Olympic handball medalist and the deals he landed were for things such as organizing seminars on using sports as a tourism lure. He comes from a wealthy Basque family but is not nobility; he became Duke of Palma because Cristina is Duchess of Palma. The couple have four children. Cristina is the youngest of the king's two daughters and the middle child of his three children.

The royal family decided last year to sideline him from all official royal activities, and recently removed him from the family website.

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