Allegations of corruption and money-laundering struck at the heart of Spain’s royal family on Wednesday as the king’s daughter, Princess Cristina, was formally named as a suspect in a court investigation.
The decision by investigating magistrate Jose Castro will require the princess to give evidence at a courthouse in Palma de Mallorca, in the Balearic Isles, on 27 April.
The decision is a blow for King Juan Carlos, as a once-model royal family begins to buckle under the weight of public scandal.
Princess Cristina, 47, must give evidence on her role in not-for-profit foundations set up by her husband, former Olympic handball player Inaki Urdangarin.
Castro said her evidence was needed to “clear up doubts” about her role as a board member.
Her 6 million euro (US$7,7 million) palatial home in Barcelona is already under threat, with Urdangarin reportedly struggling to come up with his share of the 8.1 million euro bail money set for him and his business partner Diego Torres.
Torres has handed over a series of e-mail exchanges with Urdangarin, some of which appear to suggest that the princess was more involved in the running of the supposedly not-for-profit foundations than her husband has always maintained.
DID NOT KNOW
Court evidence published by El Pais newspaper stated that the royal secretary who works with the princess had told Castro the king did not know that his daughter was involved in the foundations.
In the Spanish legal system, an investigating magistrate can declare someone to be a suspect when they are under investigation.
This does not mean they will eventually be charged or tried, but points to evidence that raises a suspicion of doubt, and may lead to charges.
Urdangarin and Torres, who deny the allegations, are both also suspects in the case. The men allegedly obtained millions of euros in consultancy and other contracts from politicians keen to strike deals with a member of the royal family.
Money was then allegedly diverted from the foundations, with some ending up in offshore accounts.