Spain Princess Cristina testifies in historic fraud probe

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Princess Cristina of Spain arrives at the courthouse in Mallorca. Reuters
Spain\’s Princess Cristina gave testimony before a judge on Saturday in a corruption case that has deepened public anger over graft among the ruling class and discontent with the royal family.
The princess is accused of being complicit in the business dealings of her husband Inaki Urdangarin, who is also under investigation, but they have not been formally charged with any crime.
The princess and her husband deny any wrongdoing, and have not been charged.
Princess Cristina, 48, stepped from her car and walked into the court on the island of Mallorca without commenting to the waiting television crews.
It is the first time a member of the royal family has gone to court as a suspect.
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.
Urdangarin is accused of organising the events at hugely inflated prices.
Princess Cristina is suspected of spending some of that money on personal expenses.
Judge Jose Castro has spent more than two years investigating allegations that Urdangarian and a former business partner embezzled $8.18m in public funds via a charitable foundation.
Cristina was a member of the foundation\’s board and with her husband jointly owned another company, Aizoon, which investigators suspect served as a front for laundering embezzled money.
Juan Carlos won widespread respect for helping steer Spain to democracy after the death of the dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.
But the royals\’ popularity has plunged since the case against Urdangarin opened three years ago.
The king\’s woes were worsened by a luxury elephant-hunting trip he made to Africa in 2012 as his subjects suffered in a recession.
These scandals and the sight of the king looking frail and on crutches in his rare public appearances have raised debate about the future of his reign.
A recent poll showed 62 percent of Spaniards in favour of his abdication. Support for the monarchy in general fell to just under 50 percent.
Source: TOE and agencies

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