Saturday, February 08, 2014

Her day in court

Today, the Infanta Cristina will appear in court to answer questions about her dealings with the Aizoon consultancy that she co-owned with her husband Iñaki Urdangarin. Judge Jose Castro will open with a battery of 100 questions related to the personal expenses of the princess which were claimed to be related to the business. In total there could be well over 200 questions fired at the princess.

The claim is that the Aizoon company credit card was used, for example, to to pay for work on the couples Barcelona mansion, to fund a cocktail party, private salsa lessons for the princess, dinnerware that cost 1.741 euros, a painting worth 4,400 euros, children’s furniture that cost 1,800 euros and even a set of Harry Potter books.

The judge describes this type of expenditure as a “double fraud” because, on the one hand,  the money was never declared as earnings for personal income tax and on the other was used to offset the company tax bill. He believes that the items could not be legitimately  described as operating expenses.

How the case will proceed depends upon the amounts involved. If the unwarranted expenditure can be shown to be more than 120,000 euros, then the princess faces the possibility of a prison sentence. A lesser amount would result in an administrative tax investigation and possible fines.

On this occasion, the princess will be chauffeured to the door unlike her husband who had to walk from his car to the courtroom amidst jeers from the crowd. The hearing will be behind closed doors, there will be no video recording and all mobile phones, ipads and laptops are banned from the courtroom. There will, however, be an audio recording of the proceedings but only selected parts of that will be transcribed into writing.

Both the princess and her legal team believe that she is innocent and say they welcome the opportunity to prove it.

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