Skip to main content

Spain's Princess Cristina faces charges in corruption scandal

By Al Goodman, CNN
updated 5:30 AM EDT, Thu April 4, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Royal family issues statement about judge's decision, will appeal
  • The scandal has riveted Spanish media
  • Princess Cristina's husband also faces preliminary charges
  • The couple is under investigation for allegedly diverting public funds

Madrid (CNN) -- Spain's Princess Cristina faces preliminary charges in a financial corruption scandal involving her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, the office of investigating magistrate Jose Castro announced Wednesday.

It's the first time since democracy was restored in Spain in 1975 that a direct member of King Juan Carlos' family has faced preliminary charges of any kind, in any case, a spokesman for the Royal Household said.

Urdangarin, the king's son-in-law, already faces preliminary charges as a suspect in the fraud scandal that has created unprecedented problems for the popular royal family. He denies any wrongdoing.

Now, both the princess and her husband are under investigation for allegedly diverting public funds earmarked for a non-profit foundation for private use.

Scandal strikes Spain's royal family

Late Wednesday, the Royal Household issued a statement saying it was surprised that the judge -- who last year said in an order that there were insufficient grounds to name the princess as a suspect with preliminary charges in the case -- had changed his mind.

In his 18-page order Wednesday, the judge said that further investigation since last year had led to the decision to bring preliminary charges.

The Royal Household statement also said that it is in "absolute conformity" with an announcement by prosecutors that they will appeal the judge's order to place preliminary charges on the princess.

The Royal Household statement added that it maintains full respect for judicial decisions.

Earlier Wednesday, the Royal Household press office tersely said that it does not comment on judicial decisions. But the story about the King's daughter dominated the news in Spain and was getting prominent coverage abroad as well.

Finally, the Royal Household opted for its statement late in the day, after the prosecutors announced their move, a senior spokesman told CNN.

The judge's order said Princess Cristina will be questioned on April 27 regarding "the handling and destination of funds obtained" through her husband's foundation and also a separate company.

Urdangarin was granted the title of Duke of Palma when he married Princess Cristina, the king's youngest daughter, in 1997.

Judge Castro is leading the investigation at a local court in Palma de Mallorca, in Spain's Balearic Islands.

An adviser to the royal household also has been implicated in the scandal.

Earlier this year, a judge ordered Urdangarin and a former business associate, Diego Torrres, to deposit a joint bond of 8 million euros ($10.8 million) for potential civil damages. If not, the judge would move to embargo the assets of the two men, a court spokeswoman said.

No trial has been set in the case, which has riveted national attention. Although preliminary charges have been announced, they could eventually be dropped, but a filing of indictments would set a trial in motion.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:57 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
updated 8:21 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
updated 11:32 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
updated 4:06 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
updated 2:45 PM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
updated 8:24 AM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
It's a very big challenge but NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan thinks it can be done.
updated 7:39 PM EST, Sun November 16, 2014
CNN's Atika Shubert explains how the most recent ISIS video differs from the other previous hostage execution videos.
updated 12:38 PM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
A Syrian cleric condemns ISIS and its execution of U.S. hostage Peter Kassig.
updated 12:20 PM EST, Sun November 16, 2014
Volunteer fighters in eastern Ukraine dig down just 800 meters from the front line.
updated 12:29 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
TV anchor wears the same suit for a year. Female colleague wears new outfit daily. Who gets criticized?
updated 12:31 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT