Spain's Princess Cristina loses legal battle to avoid tax fraud trial

MADRID -- Spain's Princess Cristina has lost a legal battle to avoid being tried for tax fraud and is expected to testify next month in a corruption trial also featuring her husband and 16 other defendants, a panel of judges ruled Friday.

See Full Article

Lawyers for the sister of King Felipe VI, a prosecutor and a state attorney representing Spanish tax authorities all said earlier this month that the charges against Cristina should be thrown out because government officials agreed she committed no crimes and should face at most an administrative tax evasion fine.

But the three judges presiding over the case disagreed, according to a statement released by the court. They sided with an investigative judge who spent four years probing the case and ruled earlier she could be tried because of evidence presented by private anti-corruption group Manos Limpias (Clean Hands).

That means the 50-year-old Cristina will face two counts of tax fraud carrying a maximum prison sentence of eight years for allegedly failing to declare taxes on personal expenses paid by a real estate company she owned with her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, an Olympic handball medallist turned businessman.

After the decision was issued, the Royal Palace said it respects all Spanish judicial decisions but declined further comment. Cristina works for a Spanish bank in Switzerland where she lives with her family and has been excluded from royal appearances for years because of the case.

Her lawyer, Miquel Roca, told reporters the decision was a disappointment but that Cristina received the news "with the utmost serenity and all due respect that any judgment always deserves."

She will next appear in court on Feb. 9 when the defendants begin testifying and she is expected to be the last person to answer questions in proceedings scheduled to end by Feb. 26.

During the trial, the judges will have to weigh whether the couple criminally abused the Aizoon real estate consulting firm described in court documents as a "front company" to fund luxury vacations, throw parties at their modernist Barcelona mansion and pay for salsa dancing classes.

The trial is the first time that a member of Spain's royal family has faced criminal charges since the monarchy was restored in 1975.

Urdangarin and others face charges of embezzling up to 6.2 million euros ($6.8 million) from contracts that were allegedly inflated or never honoured. The princess' husband, formerly the Duke of Palma, is accused of using his title to land the deals for the Noos Institute he ran with business partner Diego Torres.

The case is being heard in Palma de Mallorca, the regional capital of Spain's Balearic Islands, because many of Urdangarin's business deals under investigation were for the islands.

Cristina denied knowledge of her husband's business activities during a 2014 closed-door court appearance. But the investigative judge decided she could be tried for tax fraud allegedly committed in 2007 and 2008.

Details about the couple's regal lifestyle that emerged from the pre-trial investigation from 2011-2014 outraged Spaniards as the country teetered on the edge of an economic crisis and the unemployment rate hit 27 per cent.

The case was also seen as one of the reasons for the 2014 abdication of King Juan Carlos in favour of his son Felipe.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 'We need him': Yazidi mother pleads for Canada's help to reunite with injured son

    Canada News CTV News
    A Yazidi refugee who escaped Iraq with four of her six sons is pleading for Canadian officials to reunite her with her 12-year-old son Emad, whom she only recently learned is alive. An Islamic State attack in August 2014 separated Nofa Mihlo Zaghla from two of her sons and her husband. Source
  • Minneapolis police chief resigns in wake of Justine Damond shooting

    World News Toronto Sun
    Minneapolis police Chief Janee Harteau resigned Friday at the request of the mayor, who said she lost confidence in the chief following last week’s shooting death of an unarmed Australian woman by a police officer. In a statement released Friday, Harteau said: “I’ve decided I am willing to step aside to let a fresh set of leadership eyes see what more can be done for the MPD to be the very best it can be. Source
  • Minneapolis police chief resigns after officer's shooting of Australian woman

    World News CBC News
    Minneapolis police Chief Janee Harteau resigned Friday at the request of the mayor, who said she lost confidence in the chief following last week's shooting death of an unarmed Australian woman by a police officer. In a statement released Friday, Harteau said: "I've decided I am willing to step aside to let a fresh set of leadership eyes see what more can be done for the MPD to be the very best it can be. Source
  • Who is Anthony Scaramucci, Trump's new communications chief?

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- He was the only Trump ally on stage that day. Yet Anthony Scaramucci didn't seem to mind the tough questions from MSNBC host Joe Scarborough or the hostile crowd that filled the luxury hotel ballroom at last month's private gathering of Mitt Romney supporters. Source
  • Qur’an submerged in lard mailed to California Islamic centre

    World News Toronto Sun
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Police are investigating the mailing of a Qur’an submerged in a tub of what appeared to be pork lard to a Northern California Islamic centre. The Sacramento chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations received the package in June, and it follows two other incidents of defaced Qurans at nearby mosques last month. Source
  • Firefighter brings nearly dead dog back to life

    World News CTV News
    BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A California fire department says a little white dog named Jack is recovering after a firefighter rescued him from a burning home and brought him back to life. In a video posted to the Bakersfield Fire Department's website that has been widely shared online, firefighter Matt Smith is shown on Wednesday carrying the nearly lifeless shih tzu from a house. Source
  • Former escort gets 16 years for trying to hire hit man

    World News Toronto Sun
    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A former Florida escort convicted of trying to hire a hit man to murder her newlywed husband was sentenced Friday to 16 years in prison, perhaps ending a drawn-out case that drew notice for its startling videos and salacious characters. Source
  • Hawaii prepares for 'unlikely' North Korea missile threat

    World News CTV News
    HONOLULU -- Hawaii is the first state to prepare the public for the possibility of a ballistic missile threat from North Korea. The state's Emergency Management Agency on Friday announced a public education campaign. Source
  • Poland's senators to vote on controversial court overhaul

    World News CTV News
    WARSAW, Poland -- Poland's Senate was poised Friday to approve legislation that would give politicians substantial influence over the country's Supreme Court -- a move that critics say would defy the principles of the European Union. Source
  • BC Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald fired

    Canada News CBC News
    The BC Hydro board of directors has fired CEO Jessica McDonald as the new NDP government continues to make changes after being sworn into office earlier this week. On Thursday, Kenneth Peterson was appointed chair of the BC Hydro board, replacing former Liberal adviser Brad Bennett. Source