By CIARAN GILES
FILE – In this May 22, 2006 file photo, Spain’s King Juan Carlos, right arrives with his daughter, Princess Cristina, centre and her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, for the Laureus World Sports Awards in Barcelona, Spain. On Wednesday April 3, 2013 a Spanish court named the king’s daughter Princess Cristina as a suspect in a corruption case involving her husband and will be called in for questioning on April 27.(AP Photo/Jasper Juinen, File)
MADRID (AP) — A Spanish court Wednesday named the king’s daughter Princess Cristina as a suspect in a corruption case involving her husband and which has been plaguing the Royal Palace for two years now.
The Palma de Mallorca court said that the 47-year-old princess is to be called in for questioning on April 27. She has not been charged with any offense.
Investigating magistrate Judge Jose Castro said that the princess was a board member of two of her husband’s companies and that there were indications that she was aware that her husband used her name and status in his dealings, from which both benefited.
He said that for the probe to be complete and to show that justice treats all equally she would have to be questioned.
Her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, and his former business partner, Diego Torres, allegedly funneled about €5 million in public funds to companies they controlled. The two ran a non-profit body called the Noos Institute, of which the princess was a board member, through the funds were channeled.
The Royal Palace refused to comment.
Urdangarin hasn’t been charged with a crime, but is a suspect in the case. He has been questioned twice by investigating magistrate Judge Jose Castro since the probe began two years ago.
Speculation that the princess could be involved began when Torres reportedly began turning over to the judge copies of emails he exchanged with Urdangarin.
The judge recently set joint bail of €8.2 million for Urdangarin and Torres and said the two “ignored the rules of public contracting as long as they achieved their aim, which was no other than to divert public funds for their own benefit or that of others.”
He said the two agreed to make as much as possible out of Urdangarin’s relationship with the Royal Palace in their dealings with public and private entities.
Urdangarin, 45, is a former professional and Olympic handball medalist and the deals he landed were for things such as organizing seminars on using sports as a tourism lure.
Urdangarin comes from a wealthy Basque family but is not nobility; he became Duke of Palma because Cristina is Duchess of Palma. The couple have four children. Cristina is the youngest of the king’s two daughters and the middle child of his three children.
The royal family decided last year to sideline him from all official royal activities, and recently removed him from the family website.