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Spain’s Princess Cristina to stand trial in corruption case


MADRID – Princess Cristina, older sister to King Felipe VI of Spain, will be tried on charges of co-operating in a corruption scheme headed by her husband, a Mallorca court declared Monday.
The investigating judge, Jose Castro, ordered the trial to open in the so-called Noos case and included 49-year-old Cristina in the indictment.
This was in spite of the prosecutor’s calls for her acquittal earlier this month.
She faces a possible sentence of up to four years on two counts of tax fraud, alleged to have occurred in 2007 and 2008.
At least 16 other people will also face trial along with Cristina, including her husband Inaki Urdangarin, who could face up to 20 years in prison.
He is suspected of using his connections to divert about 6 million euros (7.4 million dollars) in public funds through the non-profit Noos Institute, which Urdangarin headed from 2004 to 2006.
The Mallorca court set bail for Cristina at 2.6 million euros.
She will be the first member of the Spanish royal family to be tried.
Spain’s monarchy has received a modest bump in approval after Juan Carlos abdicated the throne in June.
One of Felipe’s first decisions was to change the palace structure so that Cristina and her sister, Elena, would no longer be considered official members of the royal family.
In a statement, the palace responded to the court decision by saying it “absolutely respects the independence of the judiciary”.
It issued similar statements after the prosecutor in the Noos case made his recommendations.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who is of the ruling People’s Party, said the king’s sister would be presumed innocent until proven otherwise, just as any other accused.
The opposition Socialist Party heralded the decision as an important part of the country’s battle to rout out corruption.
“That Cristina is going to stand trial means that justice is equal for everyone, and that should give a reassurance to all Spaniards,” a spokesman for the party said.(dpa/NAN)

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