Spanish Princess Won't Be a Spanish Prisoner

Princess Cristina was found not guilty in tax case, but her husband is going to prison
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 17, 2017 11:00 AM CST
Spanish Princess Won't Be a Spanish Prisoner
In this Jan. 11, 2016, file photo, Spain's Princess Cristina arrives at court for a corruption trial in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.   (Emilio Morenatti)

In a tax fraud case that captivated Spain, Princess Cristina was found not guilty Friday of being an accessory to fraud, but her husband was convicted and sentenced to more than six years in prison. A panel of judges ruled that Cristina, the 51-year-old sister of King Felipe VI, has to pay more than $280,000 in fines because the court feels she indirectly benefited from the fraud, the AP reports. Her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, 49, was found guilty of evading taxes, fraud, and other charges. He was sentenced to six years, three months in prison and a fine of $545,000. The trial centered on accusations that Urdangarin used his former title, the Duke of Palma, to embezzle about $6.6 million in public funds for the nonprofit Noos Institute. Urdangarin can appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

In a country mired with corruption scandals in politics and business, Spaniards have paid close attention to the case since the first signs of Urdangarin's involvement emerged six years ago. As the scandal unfolded, former King Juan Carlos' decision to abdicate the throne in 2014 was seen as an effort to allow his son, Felipe, to restore the monarchy's credibility. When his sister Cristina was indicted, King Felipe canceled her title of Duchess of Palma, granted by their father in 1997 on the occasion of her wedding. She and Urdangarin are no longer invited to any official events by the Royal House. A spokesman for the Royal House told Spanish media they respected the courts' independence. (More Spain stories.)

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