ROYAL SCANDAL

Judge accuses Urdangarin of illegally diverting public funds

Investigating magistrate imposes bond of over €8m on royal son-in-law and former business partner

A judge has set bail at 8.1 million euros for Iñaki Urdangarin, son-in-law to King Juan Carlos, and a former business associate who are both accused of siphoning off millions of euros in public money from the governments of Valencia and the Balearics.

Urdangarin and Diego Torres have five days to figure out how to share out the bail and post it, or face seizure of their assets.

In a staggering 542-page report, investigating Judge José Castro states that Urdangarin and his partner “ignored the rules of public contracting in order to achieve their goal, which was none other than to divert public money for their own benefit or the benefit of third parties.”

The contracts they earned for organizing sports and tourism events gained the partners over seven million euros, most of which allegedly made its way into private companies owned by themselves.

The judge’s report states that those public contracts are void because of the arbitrary way in which they were earned, without any public competition. Urdangarin is believed to have used his position as a member of the royal family -- he is married to Princess Cristina -- to influence the awarding of contracts.

Regarding the Nóos Institute, a non-profit owned by Urdangarin and Torres that served as the official recipient of the public money, Judge Castro states that “it is abysmally far-fetched to consider it a non-profit entity.”

After securing the money, Nóos then pretended to contract work from businesses that were owned by Urdangarin and Torres. One of the companies that benefited the most from this scheme is Aizoon, a real estate firm owned jointly by Urdangarin and Princess Cristina. Despite the fact that the princess was co-owner of Aizoon and a board member of Nóos, Judge Castro did not find sufficient evidence to level accusations at her as well.

 

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