Spain prosecutors want 19 years for king's brother-in-law

Spain prosecutors want 19 years for king's brother-in-law

10th June 2016, Comments 0 comments

Spanish prosecutors called Friday for the king's brother-in-law to be given a 19-and-a-half year jail term for alleged embezzlement in a trial that has also seen his wife Princess Cristina accused of tax evasion.

The princess and her husband Inaki Urdangarin are among 17 suspects who went on trial in January as part of a case that involves business dealings by the Noos Institute, a not-for-profit organisation based in Palma which Urdangarin founded and chaired from 2004 to 2006.

The case centres on accusations that Urdangarin used his royal connections to win inflated public contracts to stage sporting and other events and then syphoned off some of the proceeds into Aizoon, a firm he jointly ran with Cristina, to fund a lavish lifestyle.

Prosecutor Pedro Horrach called for Urdangarin -- who along with his wife was present at the court in Palma on the Mediterranean island of Majorca -- to be jailed for 19-and-a-half years and fined 980,000 euros.

He also asked for Urdangarin's then business partner Diego Torres, who is also accused of embezzlement, to be jailed for 16-and-a-half years.

But since the start of the case, prosecutors have refused to press charges against Cristina, who along with her husband is suspected of using Aizoon for personal expenses including work on their mansion in Barcelona, which reduced the firm's taxable profits.

Instead, an organisation called "Manos Limpias", or "Clean Hands", brought the tax evasion case against Cristina, as Spanish law allows private groups to initiate criminal proceedings.

On Friday, the group's lawyer called for King Felipe VI's sister -- who has denied knowledge of her husband's activities -- to be jailed for eight years.

But Manos Limpias' image was tarnished earlier in the trial when the head of the organisation was detained for alleged extortion and other charges, accused of asking Cristina's lawyers for money in exchange for dropping the accusations.

The corruption case involving the princess caused an uproar in Spain when it came to light, sullying the reputation of the monarchy and becoming a symbol of perceived corruption among Spain's elites.

It was also part of the reason behind King Juan Carlos's abdication in June 2014.

© 2016 AFP

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