Monarchy Now In Crisis

Media reports indicate that prosecutors may ask a judge to include Infanta Cristina in their anti-corruption investigation involving her husband Iñaki Urdangarin.

Also, some politicians are re-opening the question of abdication, suggesting that King Juan Carlos make way for his son to take over as Head of State.

King Juan Carlos scheduled to return to the hospital soon for hernia operation.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

However, the Royal Household said there was no talk at all of abdication.

Prince Felipe leads a meeting on the economy at the Bank of Spain.
Prince Felipe leads a meeting on the economy at the Bank of Spain.

Today, Spanish Government Vice President Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, according to news reports, defended King Juan Carlos and the Monarchy as a uniting force in Spanish society.

She also dismissed efforts to include the Royal Household in new transparency legislation. She said it should remain autonomous from other agencies.

While the King has published budget and earnings information, the ruling conservative People’s Party says more open books would be unprecedented among major European Royal Houses.

Queen Sofia inaugurates new pharmaceutical facilities in Guadalajara.
Queen Sofia inaugurates new pharmaceutical facilities in Guadalajara.

Urdangarin is scheduled to testify again in the investigation this weekend.

Click here for a an Associated Press story on the Monarchy’s popularity troubles.

Click here for another story from the New York Times.

Urdangarin Back In Court

King Juan Carlos’ son-in-law, Iñaki Urdangarin, the Duke of Palma, will be back in court on February 23rd to testify before judge in connection to the ongoing public fraud investigation against him.

Urdangarin testified before a Balearic Islands judge around this time last year. He denies wrongdoing amid accusations that he used a non-profit for personal gain.

El País newspaper also reported that tax authorities accuse the Duke of using a real estate firm that he shared with his wife, Infanta Cristina, as a front to avoid taxes.

Prosecutors say they are not pursuing the King’s daughter.

The Royal Household has worked to distance itself from the scandal, with many Spaniards comparing it to other corruption probes involving the political class.

UPDATE: The Royal Household has removed Urdangarin’s personal profile from its official webpage. It’s evidence of the King and the Prince further distancing themselves from their in-law.

Urdangarin Returns To Spain Amid Corruption Probe

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.

Infanta Cristina, Duchess of Palma.

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.

Anti-Urdangarin poster by Basque left-wing group.
Credit: Joxemai

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.

Read more in El Pais.
Read more in Hola.

Updated: No Deal for Duke…Yet

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.

Arms of the Duke of Palma

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.

Will Duke Admit Wrongdoing in Corruption Scandal?

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.