Princess Cristina, member of the royal family of Spain, was questioned by a judge in court for a corruption scandal. The spectacle took place in the early morning of February 8 on the island of Palma de Mallorca, where the family owns a holiday palace. Accompanying the princess was her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball player and the Duke of Palma, who is also under investigation.
Judge Jose Castro has investigated the royal couple for two years and states that Urdangarin and a former business partner embezzled €6 million ($8 million) in public funds through a charitable foundation, called Noos. The purpose of the foundation was to organize a series of sporting events for the Balearic Islands and Valencia, but according to judge Castro, Urdangarin organized the events at hugely inflated prices. Although Princess Cristina was a board member of the foundation at the time, Castro still has questions about whether Cristina was aware of the wrongdoing that her husband is being alleged for.
The couple owns another company, called Aizoon, which is also taken under investigation in the case. A summary from judge Castro states that Cristina remodeled a floor of one of her dream houses, paying for the $596,000 bill with a credit card attached to Aizoon. According to Castro there are numerous receipts for art, appliances, decorations, curtains and rugs as well as a receipt proving that the princess had hired an architect for the remodeling. In Castro’s summary, he also noted that the purchases Cristina paid for from her own pocket are only worth $4,000 over a period of eight years. The rest of her purchases were paid for by the company credit card.
Cristina’s lawyer, Miquel Roca, states the princess has not done anything wrong and both the princess and Urdangarin have denied the allegations. Urdangarin’s former business partner, Mr. Torres also states that the princess is not guilty of any wrongdoing and says she does not deserve to be prosecuted at all. Mr. Torres himself; however, is also part of the investigations.
It is the first time that a member of the royal family of Spain is involved in a corruption scandal and with Princess Cristina being questioned in court on Saturday, the family continues to lose popularity in the country. The case against Cristina and Urdangarin was revealed three years ago and a recent poll showed that 62 percent of the Spanish population would like to see the abdication of King Juan Carlos, Cristina’s father, and that they do not support the monarchy any longer. Journalists in Spain say the corruption scandal has everything to do with those results and the fact that Spain is still in an economic crisis does not help.
In 2012, King Juan Carlos enjoyed a luxurious elephant hunting trip to Africa, which in addition to the several allegations against Cristina and Urdangarin, caused the Spanish nation to lose faith in the royal family.
Although Princess Cristina of Spain was questioned about the corruption scandal in court today, she and her husband are not yet officially charged for any of the allegations.
By Diana Herst