Spain’s Princess Cristina has become the first member of the country’s royal family to be put on trial on Monday. She is charged with being an accomplice in an alleged embezzlement scam involving her husband and 16 other defendants, who have all denied the charges. The 50-year-old faces eight years in jail if found guilty by a panel of three judges in Majorca.
Cristina arrived at the court in Palma with her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, who is accused of embezzlement and money laundering. They did not speak to reporters. Her lawyer said the case against her should be thrown out.
The princess sat at the back of a makeshift courtroom at the public administration school in Palma. Her husband sat in the same row, but they were not sitting together due to court rules. Cristina’s brother King Felipe VI of Spain stripped her of dukedom in June 2015 when he removed her title “Duchess of Palma,” which she received from their father, Juan Carlos I, when she married in 1997.
Though the 47-year-old Spain sovereign stripped his sister of Dukedom, she is still sixth in line to the Spanish throne.
Meanwhile, it has been alleged that Urdangarin’s supposedly non-profit Noos Institute sports foundation was used as a vehicle to win falsely inflated contracts from regional government bodies. Then the money was channeled to personal accounts via tax havens. Noos is alleged to have received more than $6.5m of public money, most of it from the Balearic Islands and Valencia regional governments.
If he is found guilty, he could face 19 years and six months in jail. It has also been alleged that as a co-owner of a real estate company Aizoon with her husband, Cristina used the funds of the organization for personal use. With that money she paid for clothes and dance lessons for her kids and as well as work on the couple’s Barcelona mansion.
The case was launched in 2010 by a judge investigating corruption among Balearic Islands officials. Cristina’s involvement in the tax fraud has caused major embarrassment to the Spanish royal family.