The date has been set for Spain’s Princess Cristina. She is due to stand trial on charges of tax fraud on 11 January 2016. Cristina is the elder sister of the current King Felipe VI, and she’s currently sixth in line of succession to the Spanish throne, behind her brother’s two daughters, her sister Elena and her children.
Princess Cristina was formally charged last year after a four-year investigation into the affairs of her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin. He faces charges of fraud, falsifying documents and embezzlement. He used to run a charitable foundation, which is accused of siphoning off some €6m in public funds. On 11 January both Christina, her husband and 16 others involved will face the charges. It will be the first time a Spanish royal will appear in the dock.
Cristina was also on the board of the charitable foundation, and an investigating has already found that Iñaki Urdangarin’s crimes would have been “difficult to commit without at least the knowledge and acquiescence of his wife.” Urdangarin is accused of using his royal connections to win contracts and to overcharge for services.
Princess Cristina could face up to four years in prison while her husband could face up to 19 years. They have both denied any wrongdoing.
King Felipe VI has publicly broken all ties with his sister and she and her husband were both excluded from his enthronement ceremony. She was stripped of her title as Duchess of Palma de Mallorca last June, but she remains sixth in line to the Spanish throne, as only she can relinquish that right. She is currently known simply as, Her Royal Highness the Infanta Doña Cristina of Spain.
Corruption is one of the top concerns for Spaniards as they gear up for the General Elections at the end of the year and a Princess’ involvement in possible corruption is especially awkward timing. The corruption allegations have affected the Spanish Royal Family’s popularity and King Juan Carlos’ abdication in June 2014 is also attributed to this situation.
Photo credit: Princess Cristina by Solar Decathlon via Flickr.com