Spain's Princess Cristina Acquitted in Tax Fraud Trial

Princess Christina

Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball player, was given a jail term of six years and three months by a court in Palma de Mallorca on counts including fraud and influence peddling.

A panel of judges ruled that Cristina, the 51-year-old sister of King Felipe VI, will be required to pay almost 265,000 euros (over $280,000) in fines because the court considers that she indirectly benefited from the fraud.

Urdangarin's final sentence is less than a third of what public prosecutors originally demanded - 19 and a half years.

In a country mired with corruption scandals in politics and business, Spaniards paid close attention to the "Noos case" since the first signs of Urdangarin's involvement emerged six years ago.

When King Felipe VI ascended the throne in 2014, he removed Cristina and her sister Elena from royal duties as part of a modernisation of the monarchy. The following year he stripped Cristina of her title of Duchess of Palma.

The institute organized conferences and sports-related events and was run by Urdangarin and a partner, Diego Torres.

Princess Cristina was co-owner of a real estate consultancy, one of several used to assist in the laundering of the skimmed off money. Torres' wife and Cristina, for whom an anticorruption group was asking for 8 years of jail each, were absolved by the court.

Inaki Urdangarin
Inaki Urdangarin

Lauren adds, "Cristina and her husband are believed to be at their luxury villa in Switzerland, and were not in the courtroom for sentencing".

The princess is happy to be cleared but disappointed in the sentence for her husband, whom she has always believed to be innocent, her lawyer, Miquel Roca, told reporters in televised comments.

She was accused of using company funds for personal expenses such as clothes and dance lessons for her and Urdangarin's children, as well as for work on their home in Barcelona and then passing that off as business expenses.

The couple, reported to be in Geneva, was not present for the verdict.

Judges had ordered Cristina to stand trial even though the accusation against her was not supported by the public prosecutor.

"We have to respect the decision of the justice but I think they did it wrong", Mila said.

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