Spanish royal Princess Cristina has been charged with tax fraud
and money laundering.
The 48-year-old princess, who is the younger daughter of King Juan Carlos of Spain, was accused of tax fraud in a 200-page ruling released Tuesday by Magistrate Jose Castro, who summoned her to appear in court on March 8.
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"I am absolutely convinced of her innocence," Princess Cristina's attorney Miguel Roca told Spanish television in response to the summons, which he said he would appeal, Reuters reported
She is the first close relative of a Spanish monarch in modern history to face the prospect of a criminal trial, The New York Times noted
Princess Cristina's husband, former Olympic handball player Inaki Urdangarin, was earlier charged with fraud, tax evasion, falsifying documents, and embezzlement of 6 million euros in public funds through his charitable foundation, which put on sports business conferences in Mallorca and elsewhere in Spain, Reuters reported.
Urdangarin has denied any wrongdoing.
In his ruling, Castro accused Princess Cristina of using a shell company to launder proceeds through her husband's charity that she then used to purchase numerous items, including home decorations and even Harry Potter books.
"These sums were used on strictly personal spending ... and they should have been declared in income tax statements. ... But it is evident that neither Inaki Urdangarin nor Mrs. Cristina de Borbon ever did so, which means they repeatedly defrauded the tax authority," Castro wrote in his ruling.
In his ruling, however, the judge was unable to definitively say how much money he believed Princess Cristina had evaded paying taxes on, which could mean the difference between an infraction and a felony.
Castro, who opened his investigation into the royal couple three years ago, has struggled to make charges stick against Princess Cristina, Reuters noted.
The princess is presently living with her four children in Geneva, where she works for a Spanish bank's charity. Her husband still lives in Spain.
The couple has reportedly avoided the spotlight together since the investigation began several years earlier.
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