Spain's Princess Cristina to face tax fraud trial

Spain’s Princess Cristina has lost a legal battle to avoid being tried for tax fraud. She is expected to give evidence next month. The corruption trial also features her husband and 16 other defendants, a panel of judges ruled.

Lawyers for the sister of King Felipe VI, a prosecutor, and a state attorney representing Spanish tax authorities, earlier this month said the charges against Cristina should be thrown out, because government officials agreed she had committed no crimes and should face at most an administrative fine for tax evasion.

But the judges disagreed.

The 50-year-old will face two counts of tax fraud, which carry a maximum prison sentence of eight years, for allegedly failing to declare taxes on personal expenses paid by a property company she owned with her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, an Olympic handball medallist-turned-businessman.

The judges sided with an investigative judge, who spent four years probing the case, and ruled she could be tried, because of evidence presented by private anti-corruption group, Manos Limpias (Clean Hands).

During the trial, the judges will have to weigh whether the couple criminally abused the Aizoon property consulting firm, described in court documents as a “front company” to fund luxury holidays, throw parties at their modernist Barcelona mansion, and pay for salsa-dancing classes.

The trial is the first time that a member of Spain’s royal family has faced criminal charges, since the monarchy was restored in 1975.


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