Spain puts off corruption hearing of king's son-in-law

31st December 2011, Comments 0 comments

A Spanish court said Saturday it had postponed the appearance of King Juan Carlos' son-in-law Inaki Urdangarin on accusations of corruption following legal representations.

The 43-year-old ex-Olympic handball player will now have to appear on February 25 instead of February 6, the court in Palma de Mallorca said.

It said judge Jose Castro Aragon, who is in charge of the case, had received a number of requests from lawyers, including Urdangarin's own, to put off the hearing to give them time to study the file.

Thursday's announcement by the judge that he had summoned Urdangarin took the case to a new level, formally making him a suspect in a huge embarrassment for the monarchy.

Castro Aragon is investigating corruption in a non-profit organisation, Instituto Noos, formerly run by Urdangarin, who has the title Duke of Palma and is married to the king's youngest daughter, Princess Cristina.

The duke's lawyer, Mario Pascual Vives, said his client was "absolutely innocent".

A court document seen by AFP says state prosecutors are investigating suspected forgery, perversion of the course of justice, fraud and embezzlement of public funds to the tune of several million euros.

On December 12, the royal family suspended the duke from official engagements and the palace's highest official, Rafael Spottorno, gave an unprecedented rebuke, telling Spanish media his behaviour "does not seem exemplary".

© 2011 AFP

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