Princess Cristina de Borbon
Lawyer Miquel Roca: “If the people believed in justice when the Infanta
was brought to trial, they could well go on believing in
that justice now that she has been acquitted”
By Jack Wright
Doña Cristina has been acquitted of fraud complicity. In conjunction with the so-called Noos Case. Central characters: her husband and her husband’s partner-in-crime.
Cristina who? Nobody. Just the sixth in the line of succession to the Spanish throne. The first ever of Spain’s royal family to be tried in court.
Of the three children of Their Majesties King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, Monarchs Emeritus, she used to be the most popular. Natural blonde. Pretty enough. Unaffected. Holds a long-standing salaried job. M.A. in International Relations, New York University. Sister to King Felipe VI. Fell in love and married handsome Olympic handball player Iñaki Urdangarin. Has four kids aged 12 to 18.
Urdangarin masterminded with his partner Diego Torres a criminal scheme that siphoned €4.5 million off regional government treasuries. They ran a not for profit sports foundation, Noos Institute, which obtained no-bids public contracts thanks to Urdangarin’s royal connections through which they did the siphoning.
Urdangarin has been slapped with a long litany of charges among which were embezzlement, money laundering, document forgery and tax evasion. Sentenced to six years and three months in prison. €512,000 for fine. No bail. No immediate imprisonment.
Torres gets an 8-year- 6-month jail term. Larger fine (€1,723,843) for having been the one to create Noos Institute.
Sentence for the Noos partners is appealable to the Supreme Court. It seems they won’t do it, though. They could get heftier fines and longer jail terms!
Despite acquittal, Infanta (Princess) Cristina is fined €265,000 for civil liability. She has never been accused by any public prosecutor. The charges against her was brought by Manos Limpias (Clean Hands), an extreme-right anti-corruption group who later had to disband for extortion. Told Cristina’s lawyers for €3 million they’d drop the charges.
The trial began on 11 January 2016. Ended on 22 June, same year, after 61 high-profile sessions. This is not to say that the investigation of the case hadn’t been going on for a long time. It had. Since 2011. Sending Cristina and her family into self-exile, first in Washington D.C. then Geneva, Switzerland. To slip from the aggressive media. A three ring circus.
The verdict of the Audiencia Provincial (Provincial Court) of Palma de Mallorca had been expected since October of last year. Only this 17 February had the judge handed down his decision. The secrecy of the verdict was absolute. The media tried every trick in the book but couldn’t sniff it out. When it was finally made public it was generally received as fair.
Before the trial, almost nobody believed a judge existed in Spain who had the guts to try a member of the royal family.
Somehow, the trial and resultant verdicts restored the Spanish people’s faith in their justice system – albeit in varying degrees.
The Infanta Cristina’s lawyer, Miquel Roca, said: “Si se creía en la justicia cuando se sentó en el banquillo a la infanta, creo que los ciudadanos podrán creer cuando se le absuelve (If the people believed in justice when the Infanta was brought to trial, I think that they could well go on believing in that justice now that she has been acquitted).”
Featured image from The Royal Correspondent, CC BY-ND 3.0
Royal family uploaded by Teresa Avellanosa, CC BY 2.0
Urdangarin from The Royal Correspondent, CC BY-ND 3.0
The Infanta on her way to court from eldiario.es, CC BY-SA 3.0