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01/05/2012Spain king's son-in-law seeks deal in corruption case: press
Spanish King Juan Carlos' son-in-law Inaki Urdangarin is seeking a deal to settle corruption charges, newspapers said Tuesday.
Urdangarin, an ex-Olympic handball player, and his former partner Diego Torres were considering offering to plead guilty in return for being spared jail, said leading daily El Pais and its conservative rival El Mundo.
"They are looking for a deal with the prosecutor that will spare them court and jail," said the centre-left El Pais, citing sources with knowledge of the matter.
"The deal with the prosecutor would involve admitting to the crimes, cooperating with the law and paying at least 3.5 million euros ($4.6 million) in damages to the government," the paper said.
"The main stumbling block is deciding which of the two should be responsible for the the greater part of the payment."
The 44-year-old Urdangarin's main goal was to avoid damaging the image of the Spanish monarchy, the paper said.
Urdangarin, who acquired the title of Duke of Palma when he wed the king's youngest daughter Cristina in 1997, is suspected of embezzling public money paid to a non-profit institution under his control.
He is accused of siphoning off money paid by regional governments for staging sporting events to the Noos Institute, a charitable organisation he chaired from 2004 to 2006.
The money allegedly went to for-profit companies under his control.
Urdangarin has denied wrongdoing.
According to El Mundo, the prosecutor would only enter into negotiations if the accused divulged where the money had gone.
The two suspects had agreed on the offer after incriminating emails from Urdangarin to his partner had emerged, it said.
The king is widely admired for guiding Spain to democracy after the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975 but the royal family has been hit by a series of scandals in the past months.
The 74-year-old monarch made an unprecedented apology last month after it emerged he had enjoyed a luxury African holiday shooting elephants in Botswana at a time of recession and high unemployment back home.
The safari came to light only after the king had to be rushed to a hospital in Madrid because he fell over and broke his hip.
In the same month, the king's 13-year-old grandson shot himself in the foot, literally, sparking a scandal because he is below the legal age for using a firearm.
The boy, Felipe Marichalar Borbon, shot himself April 9 while learning to use a shotgun on the family's estate in Soria, north-central Spain, the royal household disclosed.
© 2012 AFP
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