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Spain's Princess Cristina charged in corruption case

AFP (Princess Cristina pictured centre)

A Spanish court upheld charges against Princess Cristina de Borbon, sister of newly-crowned King Felipe VI, and her husband in a corruption investigation on Wednesday, paving the way for a trial that could further damage the royal family’s image.


The decision by the Palma de Mallorca court comes shortly after King Juan Carlos abdicated in favour of his son Felipe, who promised to set an example for honesty at his coronation last week.

The court said it had formalised charges of tax fraud and money laundering against Princess Cristina, who was caught up in an investigation of her husband Inaki Urdangarin’s business dealings.

Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball player, is accused of using his connections to win public contracts to put on events through his non-profit Noos Foundation, and of embezzling several millions of euros in public funds.

The couple are now a few administrative steps away from being put on trial, though Wednesday’s rulings can still be appealed. Princess Cristina and her husband have denied wrongdoing in past court appearances.

The royal family’s popularity plummeted following a series of scandals, including the Noos case, which came at a time when Spaniards were battling economic hardship and high unemployment. Felipe has sought to distance himself from his sister and her husband, and has remained largely untouched by the case.

Polls have showed King Juan Carlos’ surprise abdication at 76 and his decision to hand over power to his 46-year-old son have boosted the monarchy’s popularity. Juan Carlos’ elephant hunting trip at the height of Spain’s financial crisis in 2012 had damaged his standing.

Princess Cristina did not attend Felipe’s coronation, and she and Urdangarin have been barred from official royal events since the investigation gathered pace.


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