Princess Cristina of Spain has been summoned to appear in court over allegations that her husband Inaki Urdangarin misused millions of euros of public money.
This is the first court summons for a direct descendant of the Spanish king. Princess Cristina is King Juan Carlos’s youngest daughter.
Inaki Urdangarin, who is suspected of having massively overcharged local authorities for organizing sporting events, denies wrongdoing and has not been charged.
It is alleged that some of the money ended up in companies controlled by Inaki Urdangarin – who is the Duke of Palma and a former Olympic handball player – in offshore bank accounts.
The events allegedly happened between 2004 and 2006, when Inaki Urdangarin stepped down as head of the non-profit NOOS Institute.
The duke and his former business partner Diego Torres are suspected of misusing millions of euros in public funds that were given to the institute – a charitable foundation.
Diego Torres, who was questioned by a judge in February, has also denied any wrongdoing.
Inaki Urdangarin has sought to distance King Juan Carlos from the scandal, pointing out in February that the royal house “had no opinion, did not advise and did not authorize” any of his activities at the institute.
“When the accusations arose, the palace recommended I stop any activity not considered appropriate to my institutional status, which I did,” he is reported to have said.
Princess Cristina has been asked to appear in court in Palma de Mallorca, in the Balearic Islands, on April 27.
Emails have come to light suggesting that Infanta Cristina knew about her husband’s financial affairs, El Pais newspaper reported.
Anti-corruption campaigners have urged the judge to formally name Princess Cristina as a suspect, alleging that she may also have been involved.
Emails published by Spanish newspapers in February also appear to show that King Juan Carlos took a close interest in Inaki Uradangarin’s business affairs.
Support for the royal family has diminished in recent years, amid criticism that is out of touch with ordinary Spaniards as they struggle with a severe economic crisis.
Inaki Urdangarin was suspended from official royal engagements in December.
“The royal household does not comment in any way on judicial decisions,” a spokesman for the Spanish royal family told the AFP news agency on Wednesday.
Who is Infanta Cristina, Duchess of Palma de Mallorca?
- The younger daughter of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía of Spain
- Seventh in the line of succession to the Spanish throne
- Fluent in Spanish, Catalan, English, French and Greek
- Carries out cultural, academic and welfare activities in Spain and abroad
- Honorary president of the Spanish Committee of Unesco
- Appointed goodwill ambassador to the UN World Assembly on Ageing in October 2001
- President of the International Foundation for Disabled Sailing