Princess Cristina's trial on tax fraud charges began Monday in a historic case that marks the first time a member of the Spanish royal family has faced criminal charges since 1975, The Associated Press reported.
Princess Cristina, 50, and husband Inaki Urdangarin — who, along with 16 other defendants, is also involved in the alleged embezzlement scam — arrived at court together in Palma, Majorca, Monday but by court rules could not sit together, according to the BBC News
Authorities claim that Urdangarin's reported nonprofit sports foundation Noos Institute was used to win overly inflated contracts from regional government agencies, and they say he then moved the money to personal accounts. He could face 19 years and six months in jail if found guilty, according to the BBC.
"Princess Cristina was a board member at the foundation and, with Mr Urdangarin, co-owned a real estate company called Aizoon, which prosecutors say was used to launder embezzled funds," the U.K. news site said.
Her formal charges include two counts of being an accessory to tax fraud and could result in up to four years in prison for each charge, Reuters reported
Noos allegedly received more than $6.5 million in public money, most of it from the Balearic Islands and Valencia regional governments, according to the BBC.
On Monday, the princess' lawyer asked judges to drop the case against her because the charges were not supported by public prosecutors, reported the BBC News.
"Anti-corruption prosecutor Pedro Horrach said putting her on trial would amount to discrimination and state attorney Dolores Ripoll said the tax authorities did not believe she had committed a crime," the website said. "The princess' defence lawyer argued that the only accusation against the princess had been made privately, by anti-corruption group Manos Limpias (Clean Hands)."
Princess Cristina has reportedly been ostracized by the Spanish palace and stripped of her title of Duchess of Palma by her brother, King Felipe IV, according to The Guardian
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