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Spain royal quizzed in court over graft case

Palma de Mallorca (Spain), Feb. 8 (Reuters): Spain’s Princess Cristina gave testimony before a judge today in a corruption case that has deepened public anger over graft among the ruling class and discontent with the royal family.

Cristina, the younger daughter of King Juan Carlos, faces preliminary charges of tax fraud and money laundering linked to her use of funds from a shell company she co-owned with her husband Inaki Urdangarin, who is charged with crimes including embezzling 6 million euros of public money.

It is the first time since the monarchy was restored in 1975 after the Francisco Franco dictatorship that a member of the royal family has been summoned.

The princess, 48, arrived at the courthouse shortly before 0900GMT to face dozens of questions from the judge in a closed-door hearing in Palma de Mallorca, capital of the Balearic Islands.

Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball player, is accused of using his royal connections to win generous no-bid contracts from the Balearic government to put on sports and marketing events during the boom years before a 2008 property market crash, when local governments were awash with cash.

The court gave the princess — accused of using Noos Institute proceeds to pay for items such as an expensive remodelling of her Barcelona mansion — special permission to be driven to the courthouse door.

 
 
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