King’s son-in-law to return to Barcelona to face corruption trial

Iñaki Urdangarin takes “temporary” furlough from US job

/ Madrid / Palma de Mallorca 28 AGO 2012 - 20:30 CET

Princess Cristina and Iñaki Urdangarin are to return from three years in the USA. / GC / JP (GTRES)

Iñaki Urdangarin, son-in-law to Spain's King Juan Carlos, has announced his decision to return to Barcelona to make himself available for questioning in a corruption case in which he, his former business partner and several politicians are embroiled.

To that effect, Urdangarin has asked Telefónica, for whom he has been working in Washington during the past three years, for a "temporary" leave of absence, "in view of the possibility that the ongoing judicial process could have negative repercussions for the company."

It is expected that the case against Urdangarin and his associate will be reopened in the coming weeks. The Duke of Palma, who is married to the monarch's youngest daughter, Cristina, stands accused of using his not-for-profit Nóos Institute to siphon off some 5.8 million euros of public funds from the regional government of the Balearics to private companies that he and his erstwhile collaborator, Diego Torres, controlled.

Even the king was dragged into the affair when emails were presented by Torres' defense in which it is alleged that the monarch used his position to curry favors for the duke.

Both Urdangarin and Princess Cristina were removed from official duties after the story broke. Neither did the family attend the royal household's annual summer vacation in Palma de Mallorca, despite the invitation of the queen, although the couple's four children did spend a few days at the Marivent palace.

The duchess herself faced indictment after a suit was lodged by the far-right group Manos Limpias, but the move was thrown out of the Provincial Court of Appeals of the Balearics for "inconsistency and lack of substance."

With Urdangarin facing a hefty fine, it is expected the family will be forced to move from its mansion in the exclusive Barcelona neighborhood of Pedralbes to more modest lodgings.

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