UK & World News

  • 7 January 2014, 13:08

Spain: King Juan Carlos' Daughter In Court

The youngest daughter of Spain's King Juan Carlos has been ordered to appear in court for questioning as part of an investigation into alleged tax fraud and money laundering.

Palma de Mallorca court judge Jose Castro ordered 48-year-old Infanta†Cristina to appear for questioning about her links to the business affairs of her husband,†Inaki Urdangarin, the Duke of Palma.

The former Olympic handball player is under investigation for alleged embezzlement of public funds.

A court on the island of Majorca is looking into claims Mr Urdangarin and his former business partner, Diego Torres, embezzled six million euros (£5m) in public funds via the Noos Institute, a charitable foundation he created to organise sports events.

The princess was a member of the board of the foundation and jointly owned another company called Aizoon with her husband, which investigators suspect served as a front for laundering the money.

The three deny wrongdoing.

In a written ruling, the judge said he had decided to hear Cristina's testimony on March 8. Formal charges could follow.†

It is the first time a direct relative of the monarch has been ordered to appear in court accused of wrongdoing.†

In November, a luxury villa and other properties belonging to Urdangarin were seized to cover the 6m†euro bond for his liability in the case.

The investigations have damaged the reputation of 76-year-old Juan Carlos, who has been on the throne for almost 40 years and helped in the country's transition to democracy after the death of dictator General Francisco Franco.

A recent poll published in the daily newspaper El Mundo found that more than half of Spaniards wanted him to abdicate and let his son Prince†Felipe take the throne.

Speaking at the weekend, the head of the royal household, Rafael Spottorno, said the investigation had become a "martyrdom" for the royal family and urged the judge to wrap up the investigation quickly.

He told public television channel TVE: "We have to trust in the justice system. We have always respected the judge's duties. But the only thing we ask is that he finish it soon."

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