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Judges delay court call-up for King's daughter

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Judges delay court call-up for King's daughter
The Infanta Cristian is suspected of allowing her husband to exploit her prestige as seventh in line to the throne in his business dealings. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP
14:17 CEST+02:00
A Spanish court on Tuesday spared King Juan Carlos's youngest daughter Cristina from being questioned "for the time being" in a corruption probe that has plunged the royal family into scandal.

The court in Palma on the island of Mallorca said in a written ruling that it suspended the summons for Cristina, 47, in the graft case against her husband.

It said it remained to be decided whether Cristina would be summoned to go before a judge in a separate tax and money-laundering case also linked to her husband.

The affair has plunged Spain's monarchy into an unprecedented crisis which has raised speculation over recent months that Juan Carlos would abdicate.

The initial summons for Cristina was the first time a direct relative of the king has been called to appear in court on suspicion of wrongdoing.

The probe is examining whether Cristina's husband, former Olympic handball player Inaki Urdangarin, and his former business partner Diego Torres, embezzled €6 million ($8 million) in public funds meant for sports events.

Check out The Local's handy A–Z guide of Spanish politics here.

The money was allegedly placed in the non-profit Noos Institute, which Urdangarin chaired from 2004 to 2006 and of which Cristina was a board member.

The Infanta Cristina and public prosecutors had each appealed the summons issued by judge Jose Castro, who had named her as a suspect in the graft investigation.

"The summons of the Infanta to appear and testify as a suspect for deeds attributed to her... in relation to her participation in the alleged criminal activities of the Noos Institute is rendered void," the ruling said.

"The imputation is suspended, for the time being," it said, adding that the court "will have to decide whether it maintains the imputation of fiscal crime and whether it therefore proceeds to summon" her as a suspect in that case.

Cristina is suspected  of being aware of Noos's business operations, based on evidence including emails provided by Torres. She is also suspected of allowing her husband to exploit her prestige as seventh in line to the throne.

Neither she nor Urdangarin have been charged with any crime.   

The prosecutors had argued there was no evidence to justify summoning Cristina to testify and said she was being unfairly targeted because of her royal status.

Judge Jose Castro had said that not to summon her would look like preferential treatment.

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