Spanish princess pays court $957,000 in graft case

Spanish princess pays court $957,000 in graft case
Spain's Princess Cristina, sister of King Felipe, arrives at a courthouse to testify before judge Jose Castro over tax fraud and money-laundering charges in Palma de Mallorca in this file photo.

MADRID - The sister of Spain's King Felipe VI on Monday paid a deposit of 587,000 euros (S$957,000) to cover her alleged liability in a graft case which has damaged the monarchy's standing.

Prosecutor Pedro Horrach said last week that there was no evidence to try the princess Cristina but said she should pay 587,413.58 euros to cover the money she could have made thanks to her husband's alleged illegal dealings.

Horrach recommended that her husband, former Olympic handball player Inaki Urdangarin, be tried for embezzlement and money-laundering.

If Urdangarin is found guilty, the prosecutor recommended he be sentenced to 19 and a half years' jail time and fined 3.5 million euros.

A court on the island of Majorca where the case is being investigated has received a deposit to cover the full amount called for by Horrach, the court said in a statement.

Cristina's lawyer, Miguel Roca, said last week that the princess would promptly pay the amount to "extinguish her civil and criminal responsibility".

Urdangarin, 46, is accused along with his former business partner of creaming off six million euros in public funds from contracts awarded to Noos, a charitable foundation.

Cristina, 49, sat on the board of Noos and Urdangarin was its chairman.

Investigators suspect that a separate company jointly owned by the couple, Aizoon, served as a front for laundering the embezzled money.

Summoned by Castro in February, Cristina arrived at the court with a smile and told the judge she had simply trusted her husband and had no knowledge of his business affairs.

Castro grilled Cristina, a mother of four with a master's degree from New York University, in a six-hour hearing over accounts that indicated Aizoon money was used for personal expenses, including salsa dance lessons, Harry Potter books and tickets to mime shows.

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