Husband of Spanish princess to avoid jail in graft case

The King of Spain's brother-in-law has avoided jail-time for siphoning off millions of dollars of public funds.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Inaki Urdangarin, husband of Spain's Princess Cristina, arrives at the court in Palma de Mallorca, Spain February 23, 2017.

Inyaki Urdangarin, the husband of Spanish King Felipe's elder sister Princess Cristina, is expected to avoid going to prison despite being found guilty of corruption last week.

A Mallorcan court sentenced Urdangarin to six years and three months for tax evasion and fraud after it was discovered that he used his former title, the Duke of Palma, to embezzle about $6.6 million in public funds for the non-profit Noos Foundation.

The court is the highest judicial authority in the region where the crimes took place. But under Spanish law, Urdangarin can walk free until he exhausts the appeal process against his sentence through the Supreme Court, a process that could take years.

Urdangarin must register once a month in his town of residence, currently Geneva, Switzerland, the court ruled on Thursday.

TRT World spoke to Jaime Velazquez with more on the case from Madrid.

Not quite the fairytale ending

Princess Cristina, who was also put on trial with her husband, was absolved of charges of being an accessory to tax fraud.

However, a panel of judges determined that Cristina, one of eighteen defendants in the year-long trial, will pay more than $280,000 in fines as a civil responsibility since she directly benefited from the fraud.

A lawyer with her defence team, Miquel Roca, said that the princess was "satisfied for the acknowledgement of her innocence" but that she was still convinced that her husband wasn’t guilty.

Cristina, who lives in Switzerland with her husband, was the first member of Spain's royal family to face criminal charges since the monarchy was restored in 1975.

TRTWorld and agencies