Princess Cristina’s charges relate to a 3-year investigation of her husband, Duke Iñaki Urdangarin. Mr. Urdungarin, a former Olympic handball player and member of the Spanish Olympic Committee, married the Princess in 1997. Between 2004 and 2006, Mr. Urdungarin was president of the Instituto Nóos, a non-profit sports consultancy and event organization where Princess Cristina served on the board. Mr. Udrungarin and Princess Cristina also co-owned a real estate company called Aizoon.
Trouble started for the royal couple in 2011, when Mr. Urdungarin’s tenure at Instituto Nóos came under scrutiny. Instituto Nóos was accused of skimming money from government contracts, and Mr. Urdungarin was accused of profiting from funds that had been channeled through the non-profit and real-estate company co-owned with Princess Cristina. Mr. Urdungarin allegedly used his royal connections to win contracts that were either over-budgeted or never completed at all. After an investigation by the Spanish Anticorruption Bureau found that Mr. Urdungarin sent money from the contracts to accounts in Belize and the UK, the Royal Household banned Urdungarin from Royal Family activities, and in January 2013, removed him from their website.
For two years, Princess Cristina avoided implication in the corruption scandal, surely to the relief of the Royal Family, who has been trying to repair their damaged public image. But that changed in April 2013 when, despite efforts by her husband to protect her from the case, the Princess was named a suspect by the judge overseeing the investigation, prompting her to move to Switzerland with her children.
Initially the prosecutor appealed the decision, resulting in a revocation of the summons for lack of evidence; but in January 2014, the Princess was summoned again on charges of tax fraud and money laundering. In February, the Princess appeared in court for questioning, and formal charges of fraud were filed on Wednesday, June 25th, creating the unprecedented possibility that Princess Cristina could spend 11 years in jail. Currently those charges are under appeal. More…