ROYAL SCANDAL

Urdangarin asked king to lean on sporting figures such as Ecclestone

New emails show how son-in-law wanted monarch's influence to bring major sporting figures to Valencia event

/ Barcelona / Palma de Mallorca 15 MAR 2013 - 13:51 CET

Iñaki Urdangarin asked his father-in-law, King Juan Carlos, for his help in trying to bring influential people to attend the so-called Valencia Summit that his Nóos Institute was organizing with money coming from the regional government, court records show.

On September 10, 2004 — just over a month before the summit was to be held — Urdangarin, who is the target of a public corruption investigation, asked the king to see if he could convince a group of influential sports figures to sponsor certain events. These included Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone; FIFA president Sepp Blatter; Jacques Rogge, who was in charge of the International Olympic Committee; and Ernesto Bertarelli, a Swiss magnate connected with the Americas Cup.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter, the IOC's Jacques Rogge and Ernesto Bertarelli were among the desired sponsors

These well-known personalities "could come if his highness would convince them to accept the invitation," Urdangarin wrote in an email addressed to the king. He also suggested that the monarch "in any way possible" ask Bernard Arnault, the owner of Louis Vuitton, to become "a secondary sponsor of the summit."

Louis Vuitton became one of the major sponsors of the Valencia Summit 2004, with an 87,000-euro contribution, according to prosecutors' records.

Urdangarin's former business partner, Diego Torres, who is also under investigation, has been turning over batches of emails to an investigative judge in charge of the Nóos case that reportedly show that the royal household may have had knowledge of the Duke of Palma's activities.

Urdangarin, who is married to Princess Cristina, has told a Balearic Islands' court that neither his wife nor the royal family were involved in his dealings.

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