Spanish duke Inaki Urdangarin questioned over corruption
- 25 February 2012
- From the section Europe
The son-in-law of Spain's king has been questioned by a judge in Mallorca over corruption allegations.
Inaki Urdangarin, the Duke of Palma, is being investigated over claims he misused public funds given to a foundation he ran.
The duke has denied any wrongdoing in the case, which has been a rare embarrassment for the popular Spanish royal family.
"I come to clarify the truth and defend my honour," he said as he arrived.
"I have carried out my responsibilities and taken decisions correctly and with total transparency."
Scores of anti-monarchy protesters demonstrated noisily nearby as the duke arrived for the closed-doors hearing.
Some waved signs reading "Inaki owes us money" and "Monarchy Corruption", the AFP news agency reports.
"We want justice to be the same for all Spaniards. He should be convicted," said protester Claudio Borilla.
The duke has not been formally charged but is reportedly accused of misdirecting part of some 6m euros (£5m: $8m) sent to his not-for-profit Noos Institute by regional governments to organise sporting events.
It is alleged that some of the money ended up in companies that he ran. The events in question happened between 2004 and 2006, when the duke stepped down as head of the institute.
A court official said the investigating judge Jose Castro had questioned the duke over the workings of the companies involved in the case.
The official, who asked not to be named, told AFP the judge would decide whether to order a trial and bring charges, a process which could take several months.
The duke, a former Olympic handball player, is married to the king's second child, Princess Cristina. He was suspended from official royal engagements in December last year.
On Thursday the duke's family released a statement defending his innocence and attacking what they called a "campaign of harassment" against him, AFP reports.
In response to the scandal, the royal family announced in December that it will make its accounts publicly available.
In an apparent reference to the investigation into the duke, King Juan Carlos used his Christmas speech to say that "all are equal before the law".
"When untoward conduct arises which is not in keeping with the law and ethics, society naturally reacts. Fortunately we live by the rule of law and any unworthy act must be judged and penalised," he said.