ROYAL INQUIRY

Nóos case judge rules out calling king’s German aristocrat friend to testify

The petition for Sayn-Wittgenstein to appear was made by Urdangarin’s former business partner

German aristocrat and businesswoman Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein will not be called to testify in the Nóos investigation into alleged financial crimes committed by King Juan Carlos’s son-in-law, Iñaki Urdangarin.

Judge José Castro concurred with the opinion of prosecutor Pedro Horrach and ruled that Sayn-Wittgenstein “has no link to the case” and that her appearance in court “would be completely unnecessary.” Sayn-Wittgenstein is a close friend of the king and often attended sports and tourism events staged by Urdangarin’s Nóos Institute, through which he is alleged to have embezzled millions of euros of public money.

The petition for Sayn-Wittgenstein to appear before Castro was made by Urdangarin’s former business partner and co-defendant Diego Torres, who has been drip-feeding documents and email correspondence to the judge since the case broke. Among these are emails between Sayn-Wittgenstein, Francisco Larrey, a former Nóos partner, and Urdangarin’s associate and frontman Mario Sorribas.

One of the mails thanks Nóos for the “wonderful organization in Valencia [of the Valencia Summit] and all your help with our travel plans etc. We had a wonderful time. With the fondest regards, Corinna.” Also in Torres’ possession is an email in which Urdangarin asks Sayn-Wittgenstein to form part of the sponsorship and awards organization the duke presided, with the personal patronage of the king.

Torres also requested that several other figures take the stand: Julita Cuquerella, Urdangarin’s personal secretary; Ana Wang Wu, the ex-wife of Carlos García Revenga, personal secretary to Princesses Cristina, Urdangarin’s wife, and Elena; and Nóos marketing employees Iván Carballido and María Teresa Zazo. All were rejected by the judge.

The case is expected to be brought to trial shortly in the Palma High Court. Almost 170,000 pages of evidence and testimony have been gathered and Castro recently decided there was no need to call Urdangarin to testify again. The final documents to be studied are the financial activities of the royal couple’s private interest, Aizoon, over the past 10 years, as well as the tax returns, expenses, bank transfers and credit card purchases of Princess Cristina between 2002 and 2012. The king’s daughter has previously been ruled out as an official suspect in the case but the judge is expected to pronounce in November on whether to call the princess to court.

In a separate report, Castro handed anticorruption prosecutors the opportunity of another five-day period to deliberate on the private prosecution brought by the obscure far-right union Manos Limpias, which demands that former Valencia regional premier Francisco Camps and the serving mayor of the city, Rita Barberá, to be called in to testify.

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