Photo: Princess Cristina
Princess Cristina, the younger of Spanish King Juan Carlos’ two daughters, said in an historic court appearance Saturday that she had no role in managing a real-estate and consulting company that she co-owned with her husband and is at the center of a long-running corruption case, judicial sources told Efe.
The 48-year-old Cristina answered questions from investigating magistrate Jose Castro during a more than six-hour closed-door hearing at a courthouse on the Spanish island of Mallorca, becoming the first direct member of Spain’s royal family to testify as a suspect in a criminal case since the monarchy was reinstated in 1975.
In January, Castro summoned the princess to appear for questioning on preliminary charges of tax fraud and money laundering linked to her use of funds from Aizoon, in which she was a 50 percent co-owner along with her husband, former Olympic handball player Iñaki Urdangarin.
Cristina told the judge Saturday that she formed the company because she “had a lot of trust” in her husband, according to Manuel Delgado, an attorney representing a group known as the Civic Front that has filed accusations against Cristina.
He said the princess was being “95 percent” evasive in her responses to the judge’s questions.
Investigators say Aizoon was used as a shell company to launder funds that Urdangarin allegedly embezzled from Spanish regional governments by using his royal connections to obtain lucrative, no-bid public contracts to organize sports and tourism conferences.
Those contracts were awarded to the Noos Institute, which Urdangarin chaired. The royal son-in-law and his former partner, Diego Torres, are accused of siphoning off more than 6 million euros ($8.2 million) between 2003 and 2006 through the non-profit foundation.
One of Cristina’s attorneys, Jesus Silva, said he was confident the judge “would end up dismissing the accusations” against the king’s youngest daughter.
The princess’ court appearance was closely followed by both Spanish and international media, while a large group of police cordoned off the courthouse to prevent any incidents and keep anti-royal demonstrators from getting too close to the building.