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Spain's Princess Cristina Is Cleared In Fraud Trial; Her Husband Gets Prison Time

Feb 17, 2017
Originally published on February 17, 2017 9:22 am

Princess Cristina, the sister of Spain's King Felipe VI, has been acquitted in an alleged embezzlement scheme — but her husband was found guilty Friday, as a court handed down a prison sentence of more than six years to Iñaki Urdangarín for an assortment of crimes.

"They were accused of embezzling millions of dollars in public donations to a sports charity they ran," Lauren Frayer reports from Madrid for NPR's Newscast unit. "Both are former Olympians. Princess Cristina was the first royal to face criminal charges in Spain's modern history. Urdangarín's lawyers are expected to appeal."

Lauren adds, "Cristina and her husband are believed to be at their luxury villa in Switzerland, and were not in the courtroom for sentencing. Both denied wrongdoing."

Infanta Cristina de Borbón, 51, had faced charges of tax fraud; although she was acquitted, a provincial court also ordered her to pay a fine of 265,000 euros (around $280,000).

Urdangarín was a main defendant in the case, which also involved more than a dozen other people. The charges leveled against him included money-laundering and forgery.

As Lauren reported last month:

"Cristina's defense appears to be two-pronged: She denies knowledge of her husband's business dealings and repeated the phrase "I don't know" 182 times in response to a judge's questions at a February 2014 pretrial hearing, according to a transcript.

"Her lawyers also want her case dismissed because charges were brought by a private anti-corruption group, not Spanish authorities. (A quirk of Spanish law allows this.) In fact, Spain's tax authorities have sided with the princess, arguing for an administrative fine rather than criminal charges."

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