Spain's Princess Cristina acquitted, husband jailed

Posted February 19, 2017

A Spanish court on Friday acquitted Spain's Princess Cristina - the sister of King Felipe - of helping her husband evade taxes by embezzling public funds.

Cristina's husband, Inaki Urdangarin, was sentenced to 6 years and 3 months in prison on charges of fraud and tax evasion, the authorities said in a statement on their website.

Princess Cristina has been ordered to pay 265,000 euros (£227,000) in civil liability for benefitting, albeit unknowingly, from illegal gains.

The ruling said: "We must acquit and we are acquitting Cristina Federica. of tax fraud, of which she was accused". Questioned in court in February 2014, she said she took her husband at his word.

Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball player, had used his royal connections to win public contracts to put on events through his non-profit organisation, the Noos Foundation, then overcharged for the events and hidden millions of dollars in proceeds overseas, according to prosecutors.

She told the court last March that her husband was in charge of family finances, saying: "I didn't get involved in that".

The case further soured public opinion of the Spanish royal family.

Inaki Urdangarin
Inaki Urdangarin

Since the banking crisis of 2008, the country has also been hit by various high-level political and banking corruption cases.

The investigation heightened the impression among Spaniards that the royal family was out of touch with ordinary people just as Spain was suffering its worst recession of modern times.

King Felipe was in Budapest with his wife Queen Letizia when the verdicts were handed down.

"Urdangarín's lawyers are expected to appeal". She could have gone to prison for eight years if found guilty.

The institute organized conferences and sports-related events and was run by Urdangarin and a partner, Diego Torres.

Her husband Inaki Urdangarin had been charged with the more serious crimes of embezzlement, influence peddling, forgery and money laundering. King Juan Carlos I abdicated in 2014 under pressure for, among other things, going on an elephant hunting trip to Botswana.

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