Spain's Princess Cristina acquitted of tax fraud


Prosecutors said Urdangarin had used his royal connections to win public contracts to put on events through his non-profit organisation, the Noos Foundation, then overcharged for the events and hidden millions of euros in proceeds overseas.

Cristina, King Felipe's sister, was cleared of being an accessory to tax fraud linked to her husband's business, according to a statement by the General Council of Judicial Power.

Her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, was sentenced to six years and three months in prison and fined more than €500,000 after being found guilty of embezzlement, fraud and tax evasion.

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KIng's sister fined and her husband sentenced to six years in prison. While the country was in the midst of an economic crisis with an unemployment rate of 23 percent in 2012, Spanish newspapers published a photograph of the king during a hunting trip to Botswana.

Some of the foundation's money was transferred to a private company and used to pay for family holidays, home furnishings and theatre tickets, prosecutors said. Any criminal indictment would be unprecedented for a relative of the royal family. Although they live in Lisbon, the couple and their four children were reported to be staying in Geneva.

A lawyer with Cristina's defense team, Miquel Roca, said that the princess was "satisfied for the acknowledgement of her innocence" but that she was still convinced that her husband wasn*t guilty.

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Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball player, faced a maximum term of 19 and a half years in jail.

The case centres on accusations that Urdangarin used his royal connections to win inflated public contracts to stage sporting and other events, and then siphoned off the proceeds to fund a lavish lifestyle.

The other 16 accused include the former head of the Balearic Islands government and other high-ranking officials from the islands and the Mediterranean coastal region of Valencia. The following year he stripped Cristina of her title of Duchess of Palma.

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The scandal exacerbated falling support for Juan Carlos I, who abdicated in June 2014 and handed the crown to his son Felipe.