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
August 1, 2014 -- Updated 1718 GMT (0118 HKT)
This is how the two U.S. aid workers infected with Ebola will be evacuated from west Africa.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1818 GMT (0218 HKT)
While aspects of the fighting in Gaza resemble earlier clashes, this time feels different, writes military analyst Rick Francona.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 1829 GMT (0229 HKT)
How did al Qaeda recruit a former Florida high school footballer?
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 1108 GMT (1908 HKT)
Flowers, a teddy bear and the smells of jet fuel and death haunt the MH17 crash site.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 0354 GMT (1154 HKT)
If India and the U.S. were Facebook friends, the relationship between them would be "complicated." Can John Kerry's visit change that?
This looks like a ghost ship, but it's actually the site of a tense international standoff between the Philippines and China.
July 26, 2014 -- Updated 0048 GMT (0848 HKT)
Sure, Fido is a brown Lab. But inside, he may also be a little green.
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1303 GMT (2103 HKT)
Photograph of an undisclosed location by Patrycja Makowska
Patrycja Makowska likes to give enigmatic names to the extraordinarily beautiful photographs she shoots of crumbling palaces.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1835 GMT (0235 HKT)
Take a look inside Airbus' new -- and surprisingly quiet -- A350XWB.
August 1, 2014 -- Updated 0331 GMT (1131 HKT)
What're you doing after work today? If you lived in these cities you could head to the BEACH!
ADVERTISEMENT