Spanish princess not guilty in fraud case

A Spanish court cleared Princess Cristina, the sister of King Felipe VI, of tax fraud charges but her husband was sentenced to a six-year-three-month jail term.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Spain's Princess Cristina (R) arrives at the court with her husband Inaki Urdangarin, to appear on charges of tax fraud. (File Photo)

A Spanish court on Friday absolved 51-year-old Princess Cristina, the sister of King Felipe VI, of charges of accessory to tax fraud following an investigation into her husband's financial affairs.

The 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.

The court sentenced her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, to a six-year-three-month jail term for fraud and tax evasion.

The trial centred on accusations that Urdangarin used his former title, the Duke of Palma, to embezzle about $6.6 million in public funds for the non-profit organisation, the Noos Foundation.

Prosecutors said Urdangarin used his royal connections to win public contracts to put on events through the Noos Foundation, then overcharged for the events and hid abroad millions of euros in proceeds.

Some of the foundation's money was transferred to a private company and used to pay for family holidays, home furnishings and theatre tickets, prosecutors said.

His former foundation partner, Diego Torres, was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in jail in Friday's ruling by a provincial court in Palma de Mallorca, in the Balearic Islands.

When King Felipe VI ascended the throne in 2014, he removed Cristina and her sister Elena from royal duties as part of a modernisation of the monarchy.

Princess Cristina now lives in Switzerland. She was the first member of Spain's royal family to face criminal charges since the monarchy was restored in 1975.

TRT World spoke to Jaime Velasquez in Madrid for this update and popular reaction to the trial and its outcome.


TRTWorld and agencies