• Spain's news in English
Spain court delays royal corruption hearing
Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP

Spain court delays royal corruption hearing

AFP · 6 Apr 2013, 08:31

Published: 06 Apr 2013 08:31 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Pending the result of the appeal, Judge Jose Castro agreed to postpone his summons for her to testify as a suspect on April 27th at his court in Palma on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca.

"Once a decision has been given on the appeal, if its content so allows, a new date will be set," he said.

The anti-corruption prosecutor said it was basing its challenge to the summons on the principle of "equality before the law", implying that the princess was being unfairly treated because of her royal rank.

"The imputation against a person of facts that, a priori, do not have criminal characteristics supposes at the least a discriminatory treatment," said the appeal lodged by the prosecutor.

The prosecutor has argued there is no evidence that the 47-year-old princess took part in any criminal act.

A spokesman for the royal palace had expressed "surprise" over the judge's decision to summon the princess, after declining to name her as a suspect in March 2012.

The royal family was in "complete agreement" with the prosecutor's decision to appeal the decision, the palace spokesman said Wednesday.

The case, which was opened at the end of 2011, is centred on allegations of embezzlement and influence peddling against Cristina's husband, former Olympic handball player Inaki Urdangarin, and his former business partner Diego Torres.

The pair are suspected of overbilling regional governments to stage sports and tourism events, and then syphoning off money to the non-profit Noos Institute, which Urdangarin chaired from 2004 to 2006.

The princess -- the seventh in line to the Spanish throne -- had seemed set to avoid being snared by the case.

But the judge said Wednesday that evidence, including emails provided to the court by her husband's former business partner, raised doubts that she really was unaware of the business operations of Noos.

The princess, who works as the director of social welfare programmes for the charitable foundation of Barcelona-based financial services group La Caixa, is accused of cooperating by allowing the lustre of her royalty to be used by Noos.

The summons is a new blow to Spain's 75-year-old monarch, recovering from surgery in March for slipped discs, his seventh operation in three years.

Though credited with steering Spain to democracy following the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975, Juan Carlos' standing has taken a hit over the corruption probe and over a luxury elephant-hunting safari he took in Africa last year at a time of record unemployment in Spain.

Story continues below…

As part of a charm offensive, the royal household published its accounts in 2011 for the first time and lowered its budget by two percent in 2012 and by another four percent in 2013.

In addition, a palace spokesman said Friday the royal household would be included in a future law on transparency in public accounts that is now being debated by parliament.

"For two or three  months since the new law on transparency was announced, we have not only said we have no objection but have requested to be included in the law," the palace spokesman said.

"This has nothing to do with what has been happening in the past few days. It is not because the princess was summoned that the royal household now is being included in the law on transparency," he added.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Bulls replace guard dogs at scrap yard in Valencia
Two bulls will be patrolling the scrap yard in eastern Spain. Archive photo: AFP

Guard dogs were not proving enough of a deterrent to thieves at a car breakers yard in eastern Spain so the owner has brought in a pair of fighting bulls.

Two-headed shark born in Spanish laboratory
Scientists are studying the rare find. Photo: IBIMA / University of Malaga

Scientists at the University of Malaga found the embryo of a shark with two heads and just one body.

Spain under pressure to stop refuel of Russian warships
Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is due to arrive in Ceuta. Photo: Mil Ru / Wikimedia

Spain is facing international pressure to refuse permission for a Russian warship flotilla to refuel in Ceuta en route to continuing airstrikes against the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Most wanted: Fugitive rapist arrested in Tenerife
Mohammed Jahangir Alam was arrested n Tenerife. Photo: Crimestoppers.

Mohammed Jahangir Alam, one of Britain's most wanted fugitives, who fled the country in 2008 after allegedly raping a woman, was found working in Tenerife.

Spain's Rajoy says king has tasked him with forming govt
Photo: AFP

Spain's king on Tuesday tasked Mariano Rajoy with forming a government, taking the acting conservative prime minister a step closer to power again after a 10-month political deadlock.

Two imams arrested in Ibiza resort over 'Isis support'
The men were arrested in the resort of Sant Antoni de Portmany. Photo: Jose A / Flickr

Two Moroccan imams at a mosque on the Spanish resort island of Ibiza were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of backing the Islamic State group and inciting jihad.

Balearic Islands choose to keep summertime forever
The islands will have longer evenings during winter. Photo: AFP

The Balearic Islands want to keep summertime when the rest of Spain turns the clocks back on Sunday.

  Brazilian had 'uncontrollable desire to kill': Spain police
Francois Patrick Nogueira Gouveia has been charged with murdering his uncle, his wife and their two children. Photo: Guardia Civil.

A Brazilian teenager accused of dismembering his uncle and aunt and killing their two young sons in a grisly crime that shocked Spain had an "uncontrollable desire to kill", police said on Monday.

Man rescued from bin after climbing in to find old clothes
Photo: Policía Local Murcia

Police were called after passersby reported hearing a man calling for help from within a rubbish bin in the Vistabella neighbourhood of Murcia, southern Spain.

Spain faces crucial week as conservatives re-take power
Mariano Rajoy hopes to form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain entered a crucial week as acting conservative PM Mariano Rajoy prepared to re-take power, ending ten rollercoaster months without government marked by hope and disillusion.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
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
jobs available