Spain's Princess Cristina in court over corruption case

  • 8 February 2014
  • From the section Europe
Media captionThe BBC's Tom Burridge said there was tight security as Princess Cristina arrived at court

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.

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.

Image caption Princess Cristina's lawyers say she is calm and ready for her court appearance
Image caption There has been intense media interest in the case
Image caption Inaki Urdangarin, Princess Cristina's husband, is being investigated for tax fraud and money laundering
Image caption 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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