Tags: spain | royals | fraud

Spain Princess Testifies in Historic Fraud Probe

By    |   Saturday, 08 Feb 2014 06:56 AM

PALMA DE MALLORCA, Spain — Spain's princess Cristina tried to distance herself from unprecedented fraud accusations Saturday, telling a judge she had simply trusted her husband, one of the lawyers in the courtroom said.

Spanish King Juan Carlos's youngest daughter was "evasive" as she testified as a criminal suspect in the Palma de Majorca court, said Manuel Delgado, a lawyer for a civil party in the case, left-wing association Frente Civico.

The first direct member of the Spanish royal family in history to face such a hearing, the 48-year-old blonde Cristina said she "had great trust in her husband," the lawyer told reporters during a break in the proceedings.

Long thought untouchable as a royal, Cristina finds herself at the center of the scandal, accused of being complicit in the allegedly fraudulent business dealings of her husband, former Olympic handball player Inaki Urdangarin, who is also under investigation.

“Ninety-five percent of her answers are evasive. She is calm, relaxed and well prepared," the lawyer said.

"The judge is asking very rigorous questions," he added.

"She is exercising her right not to give answers that would compromise her. She is not diverging from the script we expected: she does not know, she does not answer and that's it."

The princess is accused of tax fraud and laundering allegedly embezzled money -- claims that have plunged the monarchy into crisis.

Outside the courthouse dozens of anti-monarchy protesters blew shrieking whistles and chanted against Spanish royalty. "Royal blood, unreal justice," and "Out, out, the Spanish crown," could be heard echoing in the city's streets around the court.

Cristina arrived to the court by car instead of walking around 50 paces under the media glare to the court's side door in the equivalent of a "perp walk."

Many Spaniards will have been glued to their television sets, watching her arrival and wondering which option she would choose for her arrival. Cristina smiled to the press outside the court before stepping inside.

The legal troubles of King Juan Carlos' youngest daughter have seriously damaged the image of Spain's monarchy at a time of 26 percent unemployment, outrage over political corruption, unpopular tax hikes and cutbacks to cherished government programs.

The princess had to go through a metal detector before entering the court room where she will answer questions from a high-backed chair directly facing Castro, who has a picture of her father — the head of state — mounted on the wall behind him.

The use, or suspected abuse, of company funds to cover personal leisure expenses is among the evidence Castro has painstakingly compiled for months.

 

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A Spanish princess headed into court Saturday for a historic judicial hearing to help determine whether she and her husband illegally used company funds for personal expenses, including lavish parties at their modernist Barcelona mansion.
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2014-56-08
Saturday, 08 Feb 2014 06:56 AM
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