Holding court? Call for Spain’s kings to testify

It could be the line-up of a state banquet instead of a court bench, but if the defence lawyers in the Nóos case get their way then half of Spain’s Bourbon family as well as other European royals could be called as witnesses.

Holding court? Call for Spain's kings to testify
King Felipe VI and King Juan Carlos during the handover ceremony, June 19th 2014. Photo: Zipi / Pool / AFP

When the fraud and corruption case against Iñaki Urdangarin, the disgraced son-in-law of the former King Juan Carlos of Spain eventually comes to trial, the defence could call on a host of high profile witnesses.

A list of 696 proposed witnesses have been put forward by the defence team of Diego Torres, the former business partner and co-defendent of the Duke of Palma, the husband of Princess Cristina.

On the list is King Felipe VI, King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofia, the King’s sister the Infanta Elena and her ex-husband Jaime de Marichalar.

King Felipe’s aunt and elder sister of Juan Carlos, the Infanta Pilar, Duchess of Badajos is also on the list of proposed witnesses as is the King Felipe’s maternal aunt, Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark.

Princess Cristina will become the first of Spain’s ruling Bourbon family to be tried in court later this year after a judge charged her with two counts of tax fraud.

The sister of King Felipe could face up to four years in prison if found guilty. The charges were brought after a two-and-a-half year investigation into alleged embezzlement of more than of €6.1 million ($7.5 million) by the Nóos Institute, a not-for-profit organization.

Princess Cristina sat on the board of Nóos while her husband was its chairman. The pair jointly owned Aizoon, a company which was allegedly used as a front to launder embezzled funds.

The Duke of Palma and the Infanta Cristina with three of their four children. May 2012. Photo: Rafa Rivas / AFP

The Princess claims she trusted her husband and had no knowledge of his daily business dealings.

On Wednesday it was reported by Europa Press that in a declaration filed to the judge in her defence that she "just signed whatever she was asked" and that she "did not ask for explanations".

The scandal tainted the last years of the reign of former King Juan Carlos and was widely viewed as a contributing factor in his decision to abdicate.

Urdangarin has played down the influence the Royal family had in his business affairs but his former business partner and co-defendant claims that "they (the business partners) never did anything without first informing the royal secretary," according to papers filed to judge by Manuel González Peeters, the head of Torres' legal team, as reported by Europa Press.

The team have also petitioned investigating judge Jose Castro to call members of the government including Ignacio Wert, the minister for education and Princess Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, a German aristrocrat who had business dealings with Nóos and formed a “close” relationship with King Juan Carlos.

Judge Castro will now have to decide which witnesses he will call during the trial, although King Felipe as the serving head of state has legal immunity, a right enshrined in the Spanish constitution, and therefore cannot be forced to make a declaration.

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