Skip to main content

Spain's Princess Cristina faces charges in corruption scandal

By Al Goodman, CNN
April 4, 2013 -- Updated 0930 GMT (1730 HKT)
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
This looks like a ghost ship, but it's actually the site of a tense international standoff between the Philippines and China.
July 26, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
The reported firing of artillery from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle, says CNN's military analyst Rick Francona.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 0846 GMT (1646 HKT)
The young boy stops, stares, throws ammunition casings at the reporter's feet without a word.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
A picture taken on June 28, 2014 shows a member of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) putting on protective gear at the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital in Conakry, where people infected with the Ebola virus are being treated. The World Health Organization has warned that Ebola could spread beyond hard-hit Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to neighbouring nations, but insisted that travel bans were not the answer.
The worst ebola outbreak in history spreads out of control in West Africa. CNN's Michael Holmes reports.
July 26, 2014 -- Updated 0048 GMT (0848 HKT)
Sure, Fido is a brown Lab. But inside, he may also be a little green.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 2006 GMT (0406 HKT)
ITN's Dan Rivers reports from the hospital where those injured by an attack in Gaza were being treated.
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 0015 GMT (0815 HKT)
Photograph of an undisclosed location by Patrycja Makowska
Patrycja Makowska likes to give enigmatic names to the extraordinarily beautiful photographs she shoots of crumbling palaces.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 0804 GMT (1604 HKT)
When the Costa Concordia and its salvage convoy finally depart Giglio, the residents will breathe a sigh of relief -- and shed a tear.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1808 GMT (0208 HKT)
Flight attendants are wearing black ribbons to show solidarity with fallen colleagues in "a tribute to those who never made it home."
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT