January 20, 2014
Royal Family Faces Trial Over Tax Fraud and Money-Laundering
A member of the Spanish royal family, Princess Cristina, could be facing trial after being charged by a Spanish judge for tax fraud and money laundering. After a lengthy investigation, Palma de Mallorca Examining Magistrate Jose Castro brought forth a 200-page ruling citing evidence that the younger daughter of King Juan Carlos I had committed crimes and expects her to make an appearance in court on March 8.
The princess isn’t the only one with a questionable past. Her husband, former Olympic handball player Inaki Urdangarin, has been charged with fraud, tax evasion, falsifying documents and embezzlement of 6 million euros ($8 million) in public funds through his charitable foundation which put on sports business conferences in Mallorca and elsewhere in Spain. Both Princess Cristina and Urdangarin claim innocence.
The case couldn’t come at a worse time for the royal family as the people’s faith in public institutions continues to fall. The royal family’s image is especially tarnished with approval ratings sinking to their lowest ever. Judge Castro has failed to make any evidence against Princess Cristina stick since he began his investigation into the royal couple three years ago.
Castro first attempted to rule that he had evidence linking Princess Cristina to her husband’s money laundering scheme, but a higher court threw out the charges in May claiming the evidence was not sufficient, but agreed to give Castro more time to investigate.
The princess is expected to appeal the charges, which could then be thrown out again, or could buy the judge more time to build his case.
The princess and her husband no longer participate in public appearances since the allegations came to light.
The judge believes that Urdangarin’s non-profit Noos Foundation used its powerful connections to win public contracts around Spain, overcharges for said contracts, and then hid its proceeds abroad.