Tax inspectors and police will testify in Princess Cristina case
Judge Castro bows to prosecutor’s demand for more testimony before royal’s court appearance
The judge in an embezzlement case that has ensnared Princess Cristina will take testimony from tax inspectors and a police chief in an attempt to shed more light into her alleged wrongdoing.
By doing so, examining Judge José Castro is bowing to demands by the anticorruption attorney in the Balearics, Pedro Horrach, who on Wednesday requested testimony from three tax inspectors who wrote a report exonerating Princess Cristina from any involvement in the dubious business affairs of her husband Iñaki Urdangarin.
The former Olympic handball player is being investigated for allegedly embezzling 5.8 million euros in public funds from the governments of the Valencia and the Balearics regions. Much of that money was channeled to Aizoon, a purported front business owned jointly by himself and his wife.
This fact, and Cristina’s use of Aizoon money to finance personal expenses, led Judge Castro to name her as an official suspect in the investigation last week. She is expected to testify at the Palma High Court on February 8, the first time a member of the Royal Household has faced such a prospect.
The anticorruption prosecutor's demand for fresh expert testimony ahead of Cristina’s day in court is his latest attempt to dismantle the accusation against the king’s daughter in the probe into fiscal fraud and money laundering relating to her husband’s business affairs. A first attempt by Judge Castro to make Cristina testify in April 2013 was shot down when Horrach appealed and his arguments were upheld by a provincial court.
This time, Horrach is refraining from appealing again, yet his demands for new testimony represent a more subtle attempt at clearing Cristina ahead of February 8.
In an explosive defense statement, Horrach said the claims against Cristina were “based on the absurd and denigrating theory of an alleged biased manipulation,” in reference to recent suggestions that the tax inspectors deliberately cleared Cristina in their report despite evidence to the contrary.
The anticorruption prosecutor believes that Judge Castro has embraced the “conspiracy theory” that points to an alleged manipulation of Tax Agency reports, as well as changes of criteria and inspection objectives by the revenue office in relation to fictitious expense claims made by Aizoon. The princess allegedly used Aizoon money for personal purposes but charged the outlays as expenses against the company’s tax liabilities.