Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Further misery for the royals

The Nóos case centres around Iñaki Urdangarin and his business partner, Diego Torres. They are accused of siphoning off 5.8 million euros of public finds from the regional governments of Valencia and the Balearic Islands. The money was apparently funnelled through the not-for-profit Instituto Nóos along with the Aizoon family business and was supposedly used to organise sports and tourism conferences which never happened. Instead the money disappeared into privately owned companies and offshore tax havens.

Princess Cristina, who is seventh in line to the throne of Spain and is the wife of Urdangarin, has now been named as a formal suspect in the case for the second time. Last year she was cited by the investigating judge, José Castro but his decision was overturned by Mallorca’s provincial court. This time she has been summoned to appear in court on the 8th March, a decision that may again be overturned by a senior judge.

The King said in his Christmas message in 2011 that nobody was above the law and that of course includes the princess.  Judge Castro says in a 227 decree that the princess must have been aware of what her husband was doing even if she was not part of his conspiracy. At best, she turned a “blind eye” to what was going on. There have already  been questions raised about the 6m euro mansion that the couple own in Barcelona, the 3m euro refurbishment of it and how they were able to obtain a 5m euro mortgage on the property. Papers show that Cristina signed herself as both owner and tenant of the mansion.

If she is found guilty, Cristina faces a term of up to six years in prison for money laundering and a fine of three times the amount that was involved. She also faces further punishment for tax evasion. However, most sources say the chances of this happening are highly unlikely.

Spain may be on the brink of recovery from financial disaster but there is still a lot of clearing up to be done.

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