Spanish Princess Goes on Trial for Fraud
Landmark case could sent Cristina to prison for 8 years
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 11, 2016 12:07 AM CST
Spain's Princess Cristina listens to the proceedings during a corruption trial a makeshift courtroom in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016.   (Cati Cladera, Pool Photo via AP)
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(Newser) – Princess Cristina and her husband arrived at court on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca on Monday for the start of a historic trial that marks the first time a member of Spain's royal family has faced criminal charges since the monarchy was restored in 1975. The 50-year-old Cristina is accused of two counts of tax fraud, carrying a maximum prison sentence of eight years, for allegedly failing to declare taxes on personal expenses paid by a real estate company she owned with her husband. She will sit in the dock with 17 others including her husband, businessman and Olympic handball medalist Inaki Urdangarin.

Urdangarin faces more serious charges of using his Duke of Palma title to embezzle about $6.5 million through the nonprofit Noos Institute he ran with an associate. The princess said nothing to dozens of reporters after arriving at the courtroom. Security was tight around the building after thousands of anti-monarchy protesters in 2014 staged noisy demonstrations while Cristina answered questions about the case posed by a investigative judge. She denied knowledge of her husband's activities during the 2014 closed-door court appearance and a prosecutor recommended she be fined. But a judge decided Cristina could be charged with tax fraud, and her case was driven forward by the anti-corruption group Manos Limpias (Clean Hands).