17 February 2017

Spanish Princess Acquitted, Husband Sentenced to Jail

Via Wikimedia Commons
The King of Spain's sister, Infanta Cristina, has been acquitted of all charges in the Noos fraud case after years of court proceedings and investigations. Her husband Iñaki Urgandarin, however, received a six-year jail sentence.

The case, which started in 2011, has caused great difficulties for the Spanish royal family. Despite former King Juan Carlos' statement that "justice is the same for everyone"--including his daughter Cristina and her husband, the growing scandal was likely one of the reasons he chose to abdicate in 2014. This left his son, King Felipe VI, to weather the continuing crisis. In 2015, Felipe registered his concerns by depriving Cristina of her royal title of Duchess of Palma de Mallorca, however, her place in the line of succession was not affected.

At the heart of the case were allegations that Urdangarin had used his royal position to embezzle $6.4 million (roughly 6 million euros) of public money through the Noos Institute, on whose board both he and Cristina held seats. The court has determined that Urdangarin and his partners funneled money from Noos through a real estate company owned by the royal couple and into undeclared bank accounts. His partners have also received jail sentences. The court decided that Infanta Cristina had no knowledge of her husband's illegal activities and was not involved. Nevertheless, she has received a $300,00+ fine because of her corporate role with Noos and the real estate company.

Urdangarin and his accomplices have the right of appeal. It is unclear if their jail sentences will begin immediately are at some later date. He and Cristina have four children: Juan 17, Pablo 16, Miguel 14 and Irene 11. The family has been living primarily in Geneva, Switzerland, and they have not been included in official royal family events or duties for many years now.



King Felipe's other sister, Infanta Elena Duchess of Lugo, also has reduced her royal role in recent years. Following her divorce in 2010, she and her children, Felipe 18 and Victoria 17, have remained largely out of the spotlight.

The King and his wife, Queen Letizia, have two young daughters, Leonor Princess of Asturias 11 and Infanta Sofia 9. The Letizia, Felipe and his mother Queen Emerita Sofia carry out most of the official royal duties without additional support from the rest of the family. The official Royal Family web site only includes bios for King Emeritus Juan Carlos, Queen Emerita Sofia, King Felipe, Queen Letizia, the Princess of Asturias and Infanta Sofia.


Article from The Guardian
Article from The New York Times

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