Expatica countries
Index Last Var.(%)
BEL 20 3083.51 0.32
DAX 9605.08 0.17
IBEX 30 10058.5 -1.04
CAC 40 4387.61 -0.20
FTSE 100 6806.86 -0.05
AEX 397.5 -0.20
DJIA 16272.65 0.46
Nasdaq 4318.933 0.63
FTSE MIB 20298.33 -0.11
TSX Composite 14214.35 0.18
ASX 5415.4 -0.10
Hang seng 22836.96 0.04
Straits Times 3110.78 0.45
ISEQ 20 836.3 0.23
EUR / USD 1.37976 0.67
EUR / GBP 0.82571 0.59
USD / GBP 0.598544 -0.10
Gold 1329.6 -0.13
Oil 108.9 -0.76
Silver 21.28 0.08
You are here: Home News Spanish News Spain king's son-in-law protects royals in scandal
Enlarge font Decrease font Text size

23/02/2013Spain king's son-in-law protects royals in scandal

Spanish King Juan Carlos's son-in-law Inaki Urdangarin moved on Saturday to distance the royal family from a corruption scandal that has struck at the heart of the palace.

Urdangarin was questioned by a judge on the island of Majorca over allegations that he embezzled millions of euros of public money paid to Noos, a charity he managed.

"The royal family did not give its opinion on, advise or authorise the activities of Noos," Urdangarin told the judge Saturday, according to a copy of his declaration published by Spanish media.

Urdangarin's former business partner Diego Torres last weekend reportedly told the judge that the palace oversaw the activities of the company, from which Urdangarin quit as chairman in 2006.

When the palace learned of allegations against public companies that had worked with Noos, he added, it "recommended that I give up an activity that it considered inappropriate for my institutional status, and that is what I did."

Urdangarin and Torres are suspected of syphoning off money paid by regional governments to the Noos Institute to stage sports and tourism events.

Both men have denied any wrongdoing and have not been charged with any crime. The judge is investigating the case with a view to possibly putting them on trial.

Carlos Garcia Revenga, longtime secretary of Urdangarin's wife, the king's youngest daughter Cristina, was also due to be questioned on Saturday by Jose Castro.

Urdangarin made no comment to reporters when he arrived at court with his lawyer for the closed-door hearing.

A crowd of protestors massed nearby yelling in rage at the alleged corruption, which has fanned public anger at a time of economic hardship.

Juan Carlos has enjoyed widespread respect for helping guide Spain to democracy in the 1970s.

He has distanced the palace from Urdangarin since the scandal erupted at the end of 2011.

Spanish newspapers citing unnamed sources in the case said Torres named Cristina as a decision-maker in the running of Noos.

He reportedly handed the judge emails which appeared to indicate that the king backed and closely followed his business career.

The emails have reportedly been added to the investigating judge's file.

Garcia will be questioned about his role at the Noos Institute and "his possible work as an advisor" to Urdangarin, a court source said.

As Spain grapples with a record unemployment rate of 26 percent and government spending cuts, the allegations of corruption have taken their toll on the monarchy.

General support for having a monarchy in Spain fell to a historic low of 54 percent, according to a poll published last month in daily newspaper El Mundo.

This month the court in Palma de Majorca said it would begin freezing assets belonging to Urdangarin and Torres after they missed a deadline to pay bail of 8.2 million euros ($11.1 million).

Since the bail was applied in a civil case the two will not go to jail for not paying the sum.

Urdangarin, a 45-year-old former Olympic handball champion, acquired the title of Duke of Palma when he wed Cristina in 1997.

On top of the corruption scandal, King Juan Carlos, 75, has seen his health suffer in recent years.

The palace announced that the king will have surgery for a slipped disc on March 3 at a Madrid clinic -- his seventh operation in three years.

The royal palace on Friday said the king was not planning to abdicate despite a press report to that effect and calls by several regional politicians for him to step aside for his son Felipe, 45.

© 2013 AFP

0 reactions to this article

0 reactions to this article

Discussion Forums

Business and Personal Finance in Spain

Weekly currency crunch

Business and Personal Finance in Spain

End of Week Currency Roundup

Business and Personal Finance in Spain

Midweek Currency Update

Community Noticeboard Spain

Expat Transcribers Wanted!

English in Spain

Any other British Mums in Madrid?

participate in the forums

Inside Expatica
Editor's Guide: Getting Started in Spain

Editor's Guide: Getting Started in Spain

Expatica's Getting Started section will provide practical information on how you can open a bank account, exchange your driving licence, improve your Spanish, and more.

Groups and Clubs in Madrid

Groups and Clubs in Madrid

Here's a guide to an extensive list of groups and clubs in Madrid for expats, from sports groups to social and family gatherings.

Groups and Clubs around Spain

Groups and Clubs around Spain

A brief introduction to our Tax section for Spain, from help with inheritance tax to accounting advice.

Groups and Clubs in Barcelona

Groups and Clubs in Barcelona

Here's a short introduction to our Banking section for those living in Spain, from what to ask the experts to opening a Spanish bank account.