ROYAL SCANDAL

Dinnerware, dance classes and party organizers: the expenses Judge Castro wants to quiz Cristina about

Magistrate has found evidence to suggest royal couple set up “front company to commit fraud”

Princess Cristina, in an image from September 2009. / DANIEL AGUILAR (REUTERS)

Tableware worth 1,700 euros, merengue and salsa dancing classes and expenses that went to a cocktail party for 81 people to celebrate the birth of her daughter. These are a few of the expenses that Palma de Mallorca investigating Judge José Castro wants to quiz Princess Cristina about when she appears before him on March 8 as part of a tax-fraud and money-laundering investigation.

Castro, who named King Juan Carlos’s daughter on Tuesday as a target in his ongoing investigation into the diversion of public money at the defunct Nóos Institute, explained in his writ that there is evidence that the princess and her husband used a real estate firm they set up as “a front company to commit fraud.”

According to the judge, Princess Cristina charged many of her personal expenses to the Aizoon real estate firm, which she owned along with her husband Iñaki Urdangarin, who is the main target in the Nóos inquiry.

Prosecutors believe that public money given to Urdangarin’s non-profit Nóos Institute was diverted to his private companies, including Aizoon. But the couple has denied that allegation.

The judge also wants to question her about a payment for personal training and coaching classes

Cristina’s lawyers said they will fight to have the subpoena quashed.

Castro’s judicial inquiry has discovered that Cristina allegedly used money from the Aizoon account for many of her personal expenses over the years. Among those are a 1,741-euro set of dinnerware from the defunct La Muy Noble y Artística Cerámica de Alcora, S. A., in Castellón.

“It is not absurd to think that doña Cristina de Borbón personally selected [the place settings] herself,” Castro wrote, adding that “it won’t be easy” to establish “a link” between the dinnerware and any activity organized by Aizoon.

“And what do salsa and merengue dance courses taught at home [have to do with Aizoon],?” which was billed for the expense, Castro asks in his writ, adding that the princess should be given the opportunity to explain the connection.

The judge also wants to question her about a payment for personal training and coaching classes that the princess took at her home.

Other Aizoon expenses discovered by Castro include “decorative birthday party balloons for Urdangarin’s home;” a children’s party host; payments to a private party organizer for the birthday of one the couple’s children; the hiring of another party planner for Cristina’s birthday; and expenses for a cocktail party for 81 given to celebrate the birth of the couple’s daughter.

Aizoon was also charged for tents to be used for Urdangarin’s 40th birthday party and for the first communions of the couple’s children.

“Everything indicates that doña Cristina de Borbón may have actively participated in the organization and budgeting of these events, which are of an indisputable personal nature,” the judge wrote.

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