Infanta Cristina No Longer Under Subpoena

A court in Palma de Mallorca overturned today a recent subpoena against King Juan Carlos’ daughter Infanta Cristina in connection with her husband’s corruption investigation.

Judge José Castro, investigating allegations that Duke of Palma Iñaki Urdangarin used a non-profit company to line his pockets with government contracts, subpoenaed Infanta Cristina in April.

However, prosecutors appealed his decision citing lack of evidence.

Meanwhile, other members of the Royal Family are continuing with a busy schedule in part to rehabilitate the Crown’s image.

Prince Felipe in Seville today. © Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos
Prince Felipe in Seville.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Today Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia visited a gallery and port facility in Seville.

Princess Letizia in Seville.
Princess Letizia in Seville.
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Duke To Qatar; King’s Popularity Falls

Duke of Palma and King Juan Carlos’ son-in-law Iñaki Urdangarin is finalizing an arrangement that could soon take him to work for the Qatari handball team, El País reported today.

Investigators are pursuing a possible corruption case against Urdangarin, once an Olympic handball star, but he is under no obligation to stay in Spain while it continues.

Urdangarin and his wife, Infanta Cristina, have largely been sidelined from official royal engagements.

Infanta Cristina and her children would join Urdangarin, media reports say.
Infanta Cristina and her children would join Urdangarin, media reports say.

Meanwhile, El País is also reporting on the King’s plummeting poll numbers amid several controversies and his health problems, which have kept him away from public view.

His popularity has taken a hit even compared with other members of the Royal Family, like Queen Sofia or Prince Felipe, who have been making frequent appearances.

King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofia.
King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofia.

Analysts note that young people especially are largely unaware of Don Juan Carlos’ role in bringing democracy to Spain and putting down an attempted coup in the early 1980’s.

Newspaper El Mundo has been reporting about the King’s inheritance and his friend Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein’s activities on behalf of the Spanish government, including in the Arab world.

Leftist parties are demanding more transparency from the Royal Household, which has agreed to be part of a new openness law, albeit in a limited fashion.

Spanish royals already disclose their salary, taxes and other expenses. They will now also increase disclosure on trips and meetings.

Socialists are asking for the Royal Family’s personal finances to be public, as well.

Madrid Royal Palace.
Madrid Royal Palace.

Today Spanish Government President Mariano Rajoy defended the Crown as an important part of Spanish unity. The Socialist party is also officially in favor of keeping the Crown.

UPDATE: News reports indicate that King Juan Carlos has spoken to his friend the Emir of Qatar, but about business issues and not about Urdangarin.

Infanta Cristina Now A Suspect In Corruption Probe

Balearic Islands Judge José Castro has named King Juan Carlos’ daughter Infanta Cristina in a corruption probe surrounding her husband Iñaki Urdangarin.

Infanta Cristina, center, at a Red Cross event.
Infanta Cristina, center, at a Red Cross event.

Urdangarin is under investigation for allegedly using a non-profit company to funnel public funds for private gain.

Former associate Diego Torres has handed over documents in an attempt to tie other members of the Royal Family in the scandal.

The Royal Household — which expressed surprise at the news — has denied wrongdoing and King Juan Carlos years ago told Urdangarin to give up questionable business dealings.

Today Queen Sofia handed out awards to encourage greater access for people with disabilities.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Prince Felipe visited a new energy facility in the Basque Country.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Infanta Cristina is the first member of the nuclear Royal Family to ever be called before a judge as a suspect.

Urdangarin Denies Royal Family Involvement

Iñaki Urdangarin told a judge over the weekend that the neither the Royal Household nor his wife, Infanta Cristina, were involved in his controversial business dealings.

Urdangarin, who has been under investigation for corruption associated with a non-profit organization he once led, tried to distance the Royal Family from the scandal.

Urdangarin testified in Mallorca, where is has become persona non grata. Anti-monarchy protesters were outside the courtroom.

In a related matter, there is a growing split between the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) and its Catalonian (PSC) counterpart. They are divided over a possible referendum on independence and, more recently, PSC chief Pere Navarro asking for the King’s abdication.

King Juan Carlos meets with Portuguese Foreign Minister Paulo Sacadura Cabral Portas today.
King Juan Carlos meets with Portuguese Foreign Minister Paulo Sacadura Cabral Portas today.

A small leftist party is asking the Royal Household to distance itself or confirm claims in El Mundo by German princess and King Juan Carlos confidante Corinna zu Sayn Wittgenstein that she tried to find Urdangarin a job and has helped Spain on sensitive missions.

Queen Sofia at the Royal Academy of Arts.
Queen Sofia at the Royal Academy of Arts.

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.

Emails, Testomony Put Royal Household On Defensive

Emails and new sworn testimony by Diego Torres, the former business associate of King Juan Carlos’ son-in-law Iñaki Urdangarin, is once again putting the Royal Family on the defensive, according to several media reports.

Torres says King Juan Carlos and his daughter Infanta Cristina, knew about Urdangarin’s business dealings, which are not the subject of a high profile corruption investigation.

Basque poster showing disdain for Urdangarin and King Juan Carlos.
Basque poster showing disdain for Urdangarin and King Juan Carlos.

While Urdangarin denies any wrongdoing blames Torres for any irregularities, especially with heir non-profit Nóos Institute, Torres is trying to turn the tables.

Like Infanta Cristina and Infanta Elena’s secretary, royal legal adviser José Manuel Romero, Count of Fontao, is denying claims that he was also involved in Urdangarin’s business web.

Instead Romero says that he advised that it was not accurate to call the Nóos Institute a non-profit. The Royal Household eventually told Urdangarin to distance himself from questionable schemes.

Emails also show that German noble Corinna Sayn-Wittgenstein, a close friend of King Juan Carlos, tried to help Urdangarin land a well-paid job.

Click here for coverage from El País.

Click here for coverage from Hola.

Urdangarin Drama Intensifies

A new book by reporters for Spanish newspaper El Mundo is shedding some light into events that supposedly led to the ongoing corruption investigation against the King’s son-in law Iñaki Urdangarín.

The tome says that Urdangarin saw himself in financial trouble after buying what is often called a small palace in the exclusive Pedralbes area of Barcelona.

The book says that King Juan Carlos was upset at Urdangarin’s previous living arrangements with Infanta Cristina. Don Juan Carlos, it says, said his daughter was used to living in a palace and not a small apartment.

book

Also included is a story about Prince Felipe getting into an argument with Urdangarin over money. The reporters say the Prince was unhappy with his brother-in-law asking for help to pay for his expenses.

Adding to the drama, the book says that Urdangarin blamed Princess Letizia, a former journalist, for orchestrating at least some of his public troubles.

The Royal Household maintains that it told Urdangarin to give up his business dealings years ago.