Princess Cristina to give testimony in royal corruption case
By Teresa Larraz Mora
PALMA DE MALLORCA, Spain (Reuters) - Spain's Princess Cristina - younger daughter of King Juan Carlos - will appear in court for questioning by a judge on Saturday in a corruption case that has deepened public anger over ruling class graft at a time of government spending cuts.
It is the first time since the monarchy was restored in 1975 after the Francisco Franco dictatorship that a member of the royal family has been hauled into court in a criminal proceeding.
Cristina faces preliminary charges of tax fraud and money laundering linked to her use of funds from a shell company she co-owned with her husband Inaki Urdangarin, who is charged with crimes including embezzling 6 million euros of public money.
The princess, 48, accompanied by her lawyer, must answer dozens of questions from the judge in a closed-door hearing set to start at 10 a.m. local time (5.00 a.m. ET) at the main court building in Palma de Mallorca, capital of the Balearic Islands.
Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball player, is accused of using his royal connections to win generous no-bid contracts from the Balearic government to put on sports and marketing events during the boom years before a 2008 property market crash, when local governments were awash with cash.
He and his partners in a consulting firm called the Noos Institute are accused of overcharging, and of charging for services never provided.
The court gave the princess - accused of using Noos Institute proceeds to pay for items such as expensive remodeling of her Barcelona mansion - special permission to be driven to the courthouse door, citing security reasons.
That decision has sparked public outrage because it allows the princess to dodge hundreds of television cameras. Continued...