Spanish princess questioned in corruption investigation

Sat Feb 8, 2014 1:44pm EST
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By Teresa Larraz Mora

PALMA DE MALLORCA, Spain (Reuters) - Spain's Princess Cristina was questioned by a judge on Saturday in a corruption case that has deepened public anger over graft among the ruling class and discontent with the royal family.

It was the first time that a Spanish royal has been summoned in a criminal proceeding since the monarchy was restored in 1975 after the death of dictator Francisco Franco.

Streets away from the courthouse, in Palma de Mallorca, capital of the Balearic Islands, hundreds of protesters shouted slogans calling for a republic and an end to institutional corruption at a time of financial crisis.

"I'm a monarchist, but if they have done wrong they should return what they stole and be exposed just like the rest of us," said Angel Rodriguez, an 80-year-old pensioner passing by the court.

Cristina, the younger daughter of King Juan Carlos and seventh in line to the throne, is facing preliminary charges of tax fraud and money laundering linked to her use of income from a shell company she owned with her husband Inaki Urdangarin.

Both the princess and Urdangarin - who have not represented the Crown at official events since 2011 - have denied any wrong-doing.

Reporters were not allowed into the closed hearing.

"Her testimony was extensive and exhaustive," said one of Princess Cristina's lawyers, Miguel Roca, outside the court. "We are fully confident that today could not be a better day for the princess... We are all equal before the law."   Continued...

Spain's Princess Cristina, daughter of King Juan Carlos, arrives at a courthouse to testify before judge Jose Castro over tax fraud and money-laundering charges in Palma de Mallorca February 8, 2014. REUTERS/Paul Hanna