Spain king's daughter ensnared in fraud
By Sylvie Groult, AFP
January 8, 2014, 12:29 am TWN
MADRID--A Spanish court summoned King Juan Carlos' youngest daughter Cristina over suspected tax and money-laundering crimes Tuesday, a first for a direct relative of the monarch.
Cristina, 48, has been linked to the business affairs of her husband, former Olympic handball player Inaki Urdangarin, who is under investigation for alleged embezzlement of public funds.
The decision by a court in Majorca is a major blow to the prestige of the 76-year-old Spanish king, who became head of state after the death in 1975 of General Francisco Franco and helped guide the country's transition to democracy.
Battling scandal and ill health, Juan Carlos appeared tired as he presided over a military parade while on crutches Monday in his first public appearance since undergoing an operation to replace his left hip on Nov. 21, 2013.
The judge in Majorca, Jose Castro, has been investigating the corruption allegations against Cristina's husband since 2010. In summoning Cristina, he overruled opposition by the public prosecutor.
In a written ruling, the judge said he had decided to hear Cristina's testimony "about alleged tax and money laundering crimes," summoning her to appear on March 8 as part of an investigation that could lead to formal charges.
A palace spokesman told AFP he wanted to express his "respect for judicial decisions." He declined further comment.
Manos Limpias, a litigious far-right pressure group, lodged the suit against Cristina alleging tax evasion and money laundering, although tax authorities have not brought any charges and public prosecutors have said there is no case to answer.