Spain's Princess Cristina in court over corruption case

The BBC's Tom Burridge said there was tight security as Princess Cristina arrived at court

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Spain's Princess Cristina has been questioned in court in connection with a corruption scandal involving her husband's business dealings.

It was the first time in history that a member of Spain's royal family has appeared in court as the subject of a criminal investigation.

Her husband Inaki Urdangarin is alleged to have defrauded regional governments of millions of euros of public money.

The princess and her husband deny any wrongdoing, and have not been charged.


Countless cameras and microphones were trained on the normally mundane back-entrance to the court, where the princess arrived.

A chorus of protest could be heard from the other side of the building.

For weeks Spain's lively TV and radio chat shows have analysed and speculated about every detail of the appearance of the king's daughter in court.

Would she walk the short distance down the ramp to the door of the court? Or would she be driven to avoid the cameras?

In the end she was driven to the door in a small dark grey Ford; there was no police escort for the final stretch of her journey.

Innocent or not, many believe this long-running, much-covered corruption scandal has caused significant damage to the credibility and reputation of the Spanish royal family.

The BBC's Tom Burridge in Madrid says the world's media will analyse every detail of this corruption case, which has already gone on for three years and made headlines in Spain on an almost daily basis.

Spain's royal household admits the case has damaged the reputation and credibility of Spain's royals, and, partly because of this scandal, the popularity of King Juan Carlos has fallen in recent years.

Hundreds of protesters chanting republican and anti-corruption slogans demonstrated near the court.

Closed-door hearing

Princess Cristina, 48, stepped from her car and walked into the court on the island of Mallorca without commenting to the waiting television crews.

King Juan Carlos's youngest daughter then faced a judge to answer questions relating to alleged fraud and money-laundering.

Princess Cristina, daughter of King Juan Carlos, arrives at the court Princess Cristina's lawyers say she is calm and ready for her court appearance
media outside the court There has been intense media interest in the case
 Inaki Urdangarin (January 2013) Inaki Urdangarin, Princess Cristina's husband, is being investigated for tax fraud and money laundering
Police officers guard the roof of a building next to the Palma de Mallorca Courthouse The court hearing takes place amid a heavy security operation

The proceedings were closed to journalists, but Manuel Delgado, one of the lawyers involved in the case, said the princess appeared calm and well-prepared.

"She is exercising her right not to give answers that would compromise her," he told reporters.

"She is not diverging from the script we expected: she does not know, she does not answer and that's it."

The allegations relate to a supposedly not-for-profit organisation called Noos, of which Inaki Urdangarin was president.

The foundation staged a series of sporting events for the regional governments of the Balearic Islands and Valencia.

Mr Urdangarin is accused of organising the events at hugely inflated prices.

With a former business partner, he is alleged to have received a total of 5.6m euros (£4.6m; $7.5m) in public money.

Princess Cristina is suspected of spending some of that money on personal expenses.

There are also questions about what Princess Cristina knew about the alleged wrongdoing of her husband. Her lawyer has said she is innocent.

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