Spain’s Princess Cristina faces historic trial for fraud

Spain’s Princess Cristina faces historic trial for fraud

Spain’s Princess Cristina faces historic trial for fraud

Written by Staff Writer

11 Jan, 2016 | 2:16 pm

Spain’s Princess Cristina appeared in court on Monday on charges of tax fraud, the first member of the royal family ever to stand in the dock, as a lengthy investigation into her husband’s business affairs finally went to trial.

King Felipe’s 50-year-old sister is one of 18 people on trial after a six-year investigation into the Noos Foundation, a charity run by her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, that prosecutors say was used to embezzle millions of euros in public funds.

Princess Cristina, 50, faces eight years in jail if found guilty by a three-member panel of judges.

The trial in Palma, Majorca is seen as an embarrassment for the royal family.

Details of the investigation into the royal family emerged during the economic crisis when Spain was grappling with record unemployment and austerity and tapped into popular disgust at cases of high-level corruption among bankers and politicians.

Princess Cristina is accused of being an accomplice to tax fraud, along with her husband Inaki Urdangarin.

His supposedly non-profit Noos Institute sports foundation was allegedly used as a vehicle to win falsely inflated contracts from regional government bodies, before channelling the money to personal accounts via tax havens.

The amount of public funds paid to the Noos Institute has been calculated at €5.6m (£4.2m; $6.1m).

Princess Cristina was a board member at the foundation and, with Mr Urdangarin, co-owned a real estate company called Aizoon, which prosecutors say was used to launder embezzled funds.

The case was launched in 2010 by a judge investigating corruption among Balearic Islands officials. It has become highly symbolic of perceived corruption among Spain’s elites, including the royal family.

Last year, King Felipe stripped his sister of the title of Duchess of Palma, but she remains sixth in line to the throne.

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