Iñaki Urdangarin, the Duke of Palma de Mallorca, has announced that he is taking a leave from his post at Spanish multinational Telefónica.
The Duke, husband of the King’s youngest daughter, the Infanta Cristina, is returning to Barcelona from his post in the Washington, D.C. area.
Facing corruption allegations stemming from his work with the non-profit Noos Institute, media reports say Urdangarin wants to be in Spain to defend himself and wants to protect his employer from any controversy.
News reports from last month indicated that Urdangarin signed a new work contract with Telefónica. He was set to receive almost 3 million euro in compensation.
Prosecutors say the Duke and an associate funneled public funds for personal gain. They are also accused of document fraud.
The Duke denies wrongdoing and the Royal Household has stressed that King Juan Carlos urged his son-in-law to stay away from lucrative business dealings.
Media reports say Urdangarin, his wife and their children will move to a more modest home in the Barcelona area and abandon their current residence in the posh neighborhood of Pedralbes.
Spanish prosecutors are downplaying the possibility of a plea bargain with Iñaki Urdangarín, the Duke of Palma de Mallorca, who stands accused of diverting public funds for personal gain during his time as leader of the Noos Institute, media reports indicate.
The Duke’s main attorney is denying that conversations over a deal have been ongoing. And Urdangarín’s former business partner, who faces similar allegations, said he has no plans to enter a guilty plea, news reports indicate.
Prosecutors are stressing their desire to continue investigating the allegations. They say a special deal for the King’s son-in-law is not in the works.
King Juan Carlos’ son-in-law, Iñaki Urdangarín, the Duke of Palma, is in negotiations with prosecutors for a possible guilty plea amid a flurry of corruption allegations, El Pais and other Spanish news outlets are reporting.
In a recent deposition, Urdangarín put the blame on former associate Diego Torres. Both are accused of stealing public funds through their work with the Noos Institute, a non-profit organization.
But pointing the finger at Torres backfired, with the Duke’s former right hand man making allegations about the King’s involvement in helping with his son-in-law’s business affairs.
The King had once been seen as the one who warned Urdangarín to stay away from lucrative dealings.
Now, there is talk of Urdangarín working on a truce with Torres and negotiating with prosecutors to pay back millions of euros. While a guilty plea may hurt the monarchy, it may be less painful that a trial or jail sentence.
The corruption scandal, plus the King’s hunting trip to Botswana, has shocked people around the world who thought of the Spanish monarchy as a model for other countries with royal families.
Don Juan Carlos’ popularity, credibility and work in creating a democratic Spain gave him wide latitude to travel and get involved with politics and business. It appears that the Spanish head of state will be on a much tighter leash from now on.