Skip to main content

Spain's Princess Cristina faces charges in corruption scandal

By Al Goodman, CNN
April 4, 2013 -- Updated 0930 GMT (1730 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Royal family issues statement about judge's decision, will appeal
  • The scandal has riveted Spanish media
  • Princess Cristina's husband also faces preliminary charges
  • The couple is under investigation for allegedly diverting public funds

Madrid (CNN) -- Spain's Princess Cristina faces preliminary charges in a financial corruption scandal involving her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, the office of investigating magistrate Jose Castro announced Wednesday.

It's the first time since democracy was restored in Spain in 1975 that a direct member of King Juan Carlos' family has faced preliminary charges of any kind, in any case, a spokesman for the Royal Household said.

Urdangarin, the king's son-in-law, already faces preliminary charges as a suspect in the fraud scandal that has created unprecedented problems for the popular royal family. He denies any wrongdoing.

Now, both the princess and her husband are under investigation for allegedly diverting public funds earmarked for a non-profit foundation for private use.

Scandal strikes Spain's royal family

Late Wednesday, the Royal Household issued a statement saying it was surprised that the judge -- who last year said in an order that there were insufficient grounds to name the princess as a suspect with preliminary charges in the case -- had changed his mind.

In his 18-page order Wednesday, the judge said that further investigation since last year had led to the decision to bring preliminary charges.

The Royal Household statement also said that it is in "absolute conformity" with an announcement by prosecutors that they will appeal the judge's order to place preliminary charges on the princess.

The Royal Household statement added that it maintains full respect for judicial decisions.

Earlier Wednesday, the Royal Household press office tersely said that it does not comment on judicial decisions. But the story about the King's daughter dominated the news in Spain and was getting prominent coverage abroad as well.

Finally, the Royal Household opted for its statement late in the day, after the prosecutors announced their move, a senior spokesman told CNN.

The judge's order said Princess Cristina will be questioned on April 27 regarding "the handling and destination of funds obtained" through her husband's foundation and also a separate company.

Urdangarin was granted the title of Duke of Palma when he married Princess Cristina, the king's youngest daughter, in 1997.

Judge Castro is leading the investigation at a local court in Palma de Mallorca, in Spain's Balearic Islands.

An adviser to the royal household also has been implicated in the scandal.

Earlier this year, a judge ordered Urdangarin and a former business associate, Diego Torrres, to deposit a joint bond of 8 million euros ($10.8 million) for potential civil damages. If not, the judge would move to embargo the assets of the two men, a court spokeswoman said.

No trial has been set in the case, which has riveted national attention. Although preliminary charges have been announced, they could eventually be dropped, but a filing of indictments would set a trial in motion.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0102 GMT (0902 HKT)
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
With so many new attractions on the way, the next few years are going to be a roller coaster ride.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 0429 GMT (1229 HKT)
Thomas Malthus famously predicted that rising populations would create a food crunch: Could this be true?
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0945 GMT (1745 HKT)
The lives of everyone close to Oscar Pistorius and the girl he killed are changed forever, his siblings say.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1033 GMT (1833 HKT)
From "Sick Man of Europe" to the world's fourth largest economy.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1331 GMT (2131 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
Serbia and Albania try to play but the major game is called off after a drone flying a political flag enters the stadium.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1136 GMT (1936 HKT)
George Clooney's new wife, is now Amal Clooney, raising the issue of married names.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1757 GMT (0157 HKT)
The mysterious unmanned X-37B space plane returns to Earth after more than two years in space. But the U.S. Air force isn't saying much.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT