13th June, 2018
A court has given Spain’s King’s brother-in-law five days to turn himself in after the Supreme Court ruled he must serve a five years and 10 month sentence for charges including tax fraud and embezzlement, several Spanish newspapers said on Wednesday.
Inaki Urdangarin, who lives with Princess Cristina and their four children in Switzerland, appeared before a court in Palma de Mallorca, in the Balearic Islands, on Wednesday to be notified the decision.
The court on Tuesday upheld a lower court’s conviction of the husband of Princess Cristina for fraud and tax evasion, though it acquitted him of forgery and reduced his prison sentence by five months.
The court ruled on an appeal that Urdangarin, was also guilty of misuse of public funds, abuse of power and influence peddling and should serve a sentence of five years and 10 months.
The lower court, in Palma de Mallorca, convicted Urdangarin in a 2016 trial that captivated Spain as Princess Cristina testified in court.
It was the first time a member of Spain’s royal family was put on trial since the monarchy was restored in 1975.
The case centered on accusations that Urdangarin embezzled about six million euros (seven million dollars) in public funds.
The court found that Urdangarin and his business partner Diego Torres exploited the duke’s “privileged status” to obtain public contracts related to sports events.
The Supreme Court also upheld the verdict that Princess Cristina benefitted from her husband’s crimes.
She was ordered to pay a fine of 136,950 euros (161 million dollars).
Sources at the Zarzuela royal palace commented after the ruling that the monarchy has “total respect for judicial independence,” the Europa Press news agency reported.
The lower court will now rule on when Urdangarin must enter prison to serve his sentence, though he can still appeal to the Constitutional Court.
Princess Cristina and her husband were stripped of their titles of the Duke and Duchess of Palma after the initial court verdict.
The couple moved from Barcelona to Geneva with their four children when the first allegations of wrongdoing emerged in 2012.