Spanish king’s daughter charged with financial crimes

Spanish king’s daughter charged with financial crimes

MADRID – Agence France-Presse
Spanish king’s daughter charged with financial crimes

A Spanish court has subpoenaed Princess Cristina as a suspect of tax fraud and money laundering, the latest blow to the royal family's reputation. AP Photo

Spanish King Juan Carlos’ youngest daughter Cristina has been summoned to face tax crime and money-laundering charges, a court on the island of Majorca said Jan. 7.

Princess Cristina, 48, would be the first direct relative of the king ever to appear in court accused of wrongdoing. She has been linked to the business affairs of her husband Iñaki Urdangarin, who is under investigation for alleged embezzlement of public funds.

The decision by a court in Majorca is a major blow to the prestige of the 76-year-old Spanish king, whose popularity has been slipping in the wake of a series of royal scandals.

The judge in the Majorca court is investigating allegations that Urdangarin and a former business partner embezzled six million euros ($8 million) in public funds via the Noos Institute, a charitable foundation that he chaired.

The judge Jose Castro, has been investigating the corruption allegations against Cristina’s husband since 2010. He even overruled opposition by the public prosecutor in summoning the princess.

In his written ruling, the judge said he had decided to hear Cristina’s testimony “about alleged tax and money laundering crimes,” summoning her to appear on March 8 as part of an investigation that could lead to formal charges.

The ruling echoes charges directed against Turkish government officials and their close circles who are embroiled in a vast graft probe.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has previously accused the investigators of targeting him through a foundation which counts his son Bilal Erdoğan among its board members.

Although not directly charged, Bilal Erdoğan was reportedly summoned to testify after his name was linked to the investigation, but refused to attend.