Spanish court acquits king's sister, Princess Cristina, of tax fraud

The investigation heightened the impression among Spaniards that the royal family was out of touch with ordinary people just as Spain was suffering its worst recession of modern times.

While the case mainly revolved around Urdangarin, the prosecution had claimed that Cristina must have been aware of her husband's activities.

Torres' wife, Ana Maria Tejero, was among those absolved, although like the Infanta Cristina, she too will have to pay a fine of 345,000 euros for what the court considers to be her "civil responsibility" for having benefited from the fraud.

Her husband Inaki Urdangarin had been charged with the more serious crimes of embezzlement, influence peddling, forgery and money laundering.

Her husband, however, Inaki Urdangarin, was given a jail sentence of six years and three months for syphoning off millions of euros between 2004 and 2006 from a foundation he headed in the island of Majorca.

When he ascended the throne, King Felipe removed his older sisters, Elena and Cristina, from royal duties as part of efforts to modernize the monarchy. She faced up to eight years in prison if found guilty.

Spanish court acquits king's sister, Princess Cristina, of tax fraud

Inigo Mendez de Vigo, the minister who speaks for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative government, said Friday that it "shows that nobody is above the law and that the rule of law works". He and his business partners were accused of embezzling about 6 million euros, or $6.4 million, that had been distributed by regional officials for organizing sports events.

One of the companies said to have received money, real estate firm Aizoon, was jointly owned by Cristina and Urdangarin.

After her 1997 fairytale marriage to Urdangarin, Princess Cristina became a treasure of the celebrity press and won praise for having a salaried job.

The princess is happy to be cleared but disappointed in the sentence for her husband, whom she has always believed to be innocent, her lawyer, Miquel Roca, told reporters in televised comments.

Spanish media said the couple learned of the ruling, which was delivered in absentia, in Geneva, where they have lived since 2013 with their children.

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  • Marjorie Miles