The King of Spain’s sister, Princess Cristina, is set to stand trial over alleged tax fraud linking to her husband’s business dealings.
This is the first time in Spain’s history where a member of it’s Royal Family has been put in the dock to face trial. The historic decision comes after relentless investigations conducted by Spanish authorities that has plunged The Royal Family into a deep crisis.
If Princess Christina is convicted of any wrongdoing, she could be sent to prison. Christina’s husband, Inaki Urdangarin, is also accused of embezzling millions of euros worth in public funds with a former business associate.
It has been alleged that €5.6m of public money went missing from a the Noos Institute, a charitable sports foundation which used to be owned by Mr Urdangarin.
2014 has been a landmark year for the Spanish Monarchy. With the abdication of King Juan Carlos in June and a new King & Queen now ruling the country, the Royals have been going through a rocky period. The scandal is the last thing that King Felipe VI wants to happen after he recently ascended the throne, where he promised that the country will have a “honest and transparent monarchy”.
In addition to Princess Cristina and Mr Urdangarin, the court has ordered that 15 other suspects will stand trial alongside them.
On Monday, the court presented Mr Urdangarin with a list of charges including embezzlement where he was ordered to pay a bond of 15 million euros. The couple vigorously deny any wrongdoing and Christina’s lawyer, Miquel Roca, said that the Princess was “surprised and upset” by the decision for her to face trial.
Princess Cristina was once one of the most popular members of The Spanish Royal Family with millions of people watching her wedding to former Olympic athlete, Urdangarin, in 1997.
However, the couple now live in Geneva where they try to stay out of the limelight.
It is thought that the scandal contributed to the abdication of King Juan Carlos earlier this year. The 76 year old gave way for his son, Felipe, to freshen up the monarchy.
However, before his abdication Juan Carlos was criticised over costly hunting trips, at a time when the Noos scandal was regularly making international headlines.
Despite turbulence in recent years, republicanism is still only favoured by a minority.