NÓOS CASE

Urdangarin collected 10,000 euros for meetings, says former partner

Witness testifies that princess’s property firm Aizoon had no employees amid tax-fraud suspicions

Iñaki Urdangarin, the king’s son-in-law who is the target of a public fraud investigation, charged 10,000 euros for each meeting he held with businessmen to help drum up support for conferences and sports events that his non-profit Nóos Institute was organizing, a witness testified Monday.

Álex Sánchez Mollinger, a friend of Urdangarin who also participated in some of the meetings, told a Palma de Mallorca judge that the Duke of Palma collected 30,000 euros from the Valencia soccer team in exchange for a pledge to look for sponsors. The search failed to bear fruit but Urdangarin still collected his cash.

Previously, another witness, Fernando Roig, testified that Urdangarin was paid 600,000 euros for a similar task on behalf of the Villarreal team. Roig serves as president of the soccer club.

Judge José Castro, who is spearheading the inquiry, also took a statement from Mario Sorribas, who was once a close aide to Urdangarin, about Aizoon, the real estate and property firm the royal co-owned with his wife, Infanta Cristina. Sorribas revealed that there were no workers at the firm.

The judge is specifically looking at whether Aizoon was used as a front company to allegedly avoid paying some 240,000 euros in taxes from 2007 to 2008. Castro has opened an investigation into Princess Cristina’s tax returns. She was initially officially implicated in the embezzlement case against her husband but that decision was later left in abeyance.

Urdangarin is being investigated for fraud, tax evasion, falsifying documents and embezzling six million euros in public funds as head of the non-profit Nóos Institute.

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