• Spain's news in English

Iñaki Urdangarin's blues

George Mills · 22 Feb 2013, 13:30

Published: 22 Feb 2013 13:30 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Um…is Iñaki even a real name?

Yes, very much so. It's the Basque form of Ignacio, or Nacho for short.

Right. So who is this Mr Urdangarin guy then?

He’s the 44-year-old husband of Princess Cristina of Spain, who is the youngest daughter of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia. Urdangarin and the princess also have four children of their own, three boys and a girl.   

So he's the king’s son-in-law?

Exactly. He’s also the Duke of Palma de Mallorca, to give him his full title and dues.

And has he actually done anything with his life – apart from marrying a royal, I mean?

Well, he was a key part of Spain’s national men’s handball team and he even won a couple of Olympic bronze medals for the county. He was their handball captain at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

And why is he the Spanish face of the week?

He's got himself caught up in a high-profile scandal of late.

That rings a bell. Wasn't it something to do with shooting elephants in Botswana?

Hmm. That was the King of Spain actually. But no, I’m referring to a different scandal. Urdangarin has been making headlines because of his involvement in the Nóos Institute.

I've never heard of it.

It’s a charitable foundation that Urdangarin headed up from 2004 to 2006. The money for the institute was supplied by regional governments and went towards putting on sporting and cultural events. But it seems that Princess Cristina’s husband and his colleague Diego Torres may have been diverting funds to banks accounts around Europe.


OK. Since you ask, the two men are accused of siphoning off some €5.2 million in cash to bank accounts around Europe. A civil case has been launched against both Torres and Urdangarin with bond posted at €8.2 million. They chose not to pay the bond but because it’s not criminal case, the gents won’t have to sleep in a cell. But the Spanish authorities have begun freezing their assets.

Heavens. So is the son-in-law-guilty?

That’s what the courts are trying to figure out. Urdangarin says the whole affair can be put down to “irregular accounting” on Torres’ part.

Story continues below…

And what does Torres say?

Here’s where the plot thickens. During a seven-hour grilling by judges in Palma last week, Torres says the royal son-in-law knew about what was going on all along, and says the extensive email archive in his possession proves just that. The police, however, are still ploughing through all of this electronic information and the judges don’t yet know what roles the emails might play in any eventual outcome.

It all sounds very messy.

Indeed. Some commentators are even bandying about the idea that Princess Cristina or even the King knew something of what was going on over at the Nóos Institute. At this stage though, it looks like the incriminations might only lead to the door of the secretary of the royal princes and princesses, a certain Carlos García Revenga.

The royal family can't be too happy.

Not particularly. Although they’ve closed ranks publicly, Urdangarin’s name has been taken off the royal website. He also seems to have aged considerably in the last few years. And it hasn’t helped much that he has been signing his personal correspondence 'duque em-palma-do' or the  – erm – erect Duke.

George Mills (george.mills@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain worries about tourism future
Photo: Josep Lago / AFP file picture

After basking in its best tourist summer season in 15 years, Spain now sees dark clouds on the horizon as popular destinations reach saturation point and holidaymakers are more thrifty, industry experts say.

Spain’s Socialists lift veto on conservatives
The Socialists have decided to lift their veto on the minority conservative government or not. Photo: Gerard Julien/ AFP

Spain's embattled Socialists on Sunday voted to lift a long-standing veto that has prevented the conservatives from forming a minority government, in what should finally end a ten-month political impasse.

Spain's 'Napflix' aims to bore viewers to sleep
Photo: Screengrab/ Napflix

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more "monotony and repetition."

Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

'Cubism and War' show opens at Barcelona Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace. Photo: MP

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled an exhibition on "Cubism and War" on Thursday depicting how one of the most influential artistic styles of the 20th century survived the First World War.

Why this bionic limb pioneer doesn't believe in disability
Hugh Herr has been award Spain's top science prize. Photo: FPA

The Local speaks to Hugh Herr on winning Spain's top science prize and how being an amputee doesn't make him disabled.

Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
jobs available