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Iñaki Urdangarin begins prison sentence

Spain’s Iñaki Urdangarin, the brother-in-law of King Felipe and husband to Infanta Cristina, has begun his five year and ten-month prison sentence. He signed himself in to Brieva jail in Avila – a town northwest of Madrid. He had been given a five-day deadline to report to the prison of his choosing.

It was just a week ago that Spain’s Supreme Court upheld the prison sentence for Iñaki Urdangarin. They ruled on Tuesday, 12 June that Urdangarin, a former Olympic medal-winning handball player, must serve five years and ten months; the Court’s ruling is five months shorter than the one ordered by the regional court on Mallorca – the largest island in the Balearic Islands.

At the same time, the Supreme Court lowered the fine imposed on Infanta Cristina, the first member of the Spanish Royal Family to stand trial, by the lower court. She now only has to pay half of the original amount, which was €265,000, after being acquitted of being an accessory to fraud.

Urdangarin, Infanta Cristina and their family have been residing in Geneva, Switzerland, since the conviction last year. It was on 17 February 2017 that the verdict was announced in the Noos case. Then, Infanta Christina of Spain was found not guilty of corruption charges following a lengthy trial in Palma de Mallorca for corruption and money fraud. However, Iñaki was convicted and sentenced to six years and three months.

Cristina and Iñaki were accused of defrauding taxpayers of funds through embezzlement and money laundering in excess of £4.5 million through the non-profit organisation the Noos Institute. Infanta Cristina was a member of the board, and Iñaki served as the director.

Specifically, Cristina was accused of using money from the organisation for personal expenses. Iñaki was arraigned on charges of tax fraud and money laundering. He and his business partner Diego Torres have been accused of hugely overcharging two regional governments (The Balearic Islands and Valencia) that participated in different sporting events organised by the Noos Institute.

Iñaki and Cristina used to hold the titles of Duke and Duchess of Palma de Mallorca after their 1997 wedding. However, the titles were revoked after the scandal broke in 2015. Cristina’s her title as infanta and place in the line of succession were not affected.

About author

Brittani is from Tennessee, USA. She is a political scientist and historian after graduating with a degree in the topics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in December 2014. She also holds a master's degree from Northeastern University. She enjoys reading and researching all things regarding the royals of the world. Her love of royals began in middle school, and she's been researching, reading, and writing on royalty for over a decade. She became Europe Editor in October 2016, and then Deputy Editor in January 2019, and has been featured on several podcasts, radio shows, news broadcasts and websites including Global News Canada, ABC News Australia, WION India and BBC World News.