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CORRUPTION

King’s son-in-law faces right royal grilling

The son-in-law of Spain's King Juan Carlos, Iñaki Urdangarin, will face the music in court on Saturday as he answers questions about his role in a damaging corruption case.

King's son-in-law faces right royal grilling
Corruption allegations are weighing heavily on royal son-in-law Iñaki Urdangarin, pictured here at January's Handball World Championships. Photo: Josep Lago/AFP

Urdangarin and former partner Diego Torres are suspected of syphoning off millions of euros paid by regional governments to the Noos Institute, a charitable organisation which the husband of Princess Cristina chaired from 2004 to 2006.

The money was meant to cover the cost of staging sporting and tourism events.

Both men have denied any wrongdoing and have not been charged with any crime.

Spain's two main daily newspapers, El Pais and El Mundo, on Monday published e-mails supposedly sent by Urdangarin which appear to indicate that the king backed and closely followed his business career closely.

The revelations are embarrassing for the royal palace which has tried to mark a clear border between Urdangarin's business affairs and the royal family, especially Princess Cristina, since the scandal erupted at the end of 2011.

The royal family sidelined Urdangarin, who acquired the title of Duke of Palma in 1997 when he wed Cristina, from all official royal activities at the end of 2011 and last month he was removed from the family website.

The 45-year-old former Olympic handball player was jeered in February last year when he appeared in court to be questioned for the first time as part of the probe.

He will be grilled again at the court in Palma on Saturday, the same day that Carlos Garcia Revenga, secretary to the king's daughters Elena and Cristina is set to be questioned in the case.

Revenga will be questioned about his role at the Noos Institute and "his possible work as an advisor" to Urdangarin, the court source said.

The palace has said it would keep Garcia in his post and would take no action until he goes before the judge.

Earlier this month the court said it would begin freezing assets belonging to Urdangarin and his former business partner after they missed a deadline to pay bail of €8.2 million.

Since the bail was applied in a civil case the two will not go to jail for not paying the sum.

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CORRUPTION

Barçagate: Police raid FC Barcelona offices and arrest former president

Police raided the offices of FC Barcelona on Monday, carrying out several arrests just six days ahead of the club's presidential elections, a Catalan regional police spokesman told AFP.

Barçagate: Police raid FC Barcelona offices and arrest former president
Barcelona's former president Josep Maria Bartomeu is among the arrested. Photo: Josep Lago/AFP

Spain's Cadena Ser radio said one of those arrested was former club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who resigned in October, along with CEO Oscar Grau and the club's head of legal services.

But the police refused to confirm names, saying only “arrests are taking place” and adding that the operation was being run by officers from the financial crimes unit.

“We are in the process of carrying out an operation right now with agents of the financial crimes unit,” the police spokesman told AFP.

According to reports in the Spanish media, the operation is linked to last year's investigation into the 'BarçaGate' scandal, which saw the club deny hiring a company to criticise current and former players on social media to improve the image of the then-president Bartomeu.

Cadena Ser said Barca paid €1 million in six separate invoices to the company I3 Ventures, with whom the club have since cut ties.

Bartomeu resigned in October, after mounting pressure following months of controversy and a dramatic decline in performances on the pitch.

His successor is due to be elected on Sunday, when club members will choose between the final three candidates, Joan Laporta, Toni Freixa and Victor Font.

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