March 2, 2016 / 8:19 PM / in 2 years

Spanish royals knew my business, princess's husband tells court

MADRID (Reuters) - The husband of Spain’s Princess Cristina said on Wednesday the royal family was fully aware of the business deals of his not-for-profit organization, the subject of an investigation that has landed him and his wife in court on charges of tax fraud.

Spain's Princess Cristina arrives at court with her husband Inaki Urdangarin to attend trial in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, March 2, 2016. REUTERS/Enrique Calvo

Allegations that Inaki Urdangarin embezzled millions of euros in public funds through his charity the Noos Foundation have snared King Felipe’s sister, along with 16 others, in the trial that has tapped into popular disgust against corruption.

The former Olympic handball player told the court: “I never would do anything without consulting (Carlos) Garcia Revenga, for example, so that he would be up to date with everything that we were doing,” referring to a former royal secretary.

Urdangarin and Cristina, the first Spanish royal to stand in the dock, have denied any wrongdoing. The trial, a major embarrassment for Spain’s royal family, started in a court on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca in January.

Urdangarin is accused of nine crimes including fraud and tax evasion with a combined possible jail sentence of 19-and-a-half years. Cristina is charged with two counts of being an accessory to tax fraud, which carry a combined sentence of up to eight years.

The Spanish legal system is under pressure to get tough on corruption after a string of graft cases involving the establishment from the main political parties to businessmen.

Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s own People’s Party (PP) has been engulfed by scandals that could thwart its chances of retaining power, following the arrest of several of the party’s leadership in Madrid and Valencia.

Reporting by María Vega Paúl; Writing by Angus Berwick; Editing by Sonya Dowsett and Alison Williams

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