PRINCESS IN COURT

Suspect of secretly recording Princess’s testimony arrested

Video of infanta’s appearance before judge was posted online despite strict security measures

Lawyer Francisco José Carvajal Jiménez arriving at the Palma de mallorca courthouse for Princess Cristina's testimony. / Uly Martín (EL PAÍS)

The police on Wednesday arrested the main suspect behind a surreptitious video recording of Princess Cristina as she testified in court on February 8 over her role in a tax fraud and money laundering case.

Francisco José Carvajal, a lawyer from Málaga, is suspected of being the person who recorded the statements, then distributed them. The recording, which shows very blurry images and has poor sound, was soon available on a video-sharing website named Wouzee. Later, the national newspaper El Mundo published a still image captured from this site.

After being interrogated for an hour and a half, Carvajal was arrested on charges of disobedience. He was later released on his own recognizance. Examining Judge José Castro had specifically forbidden any recording devices in the room and decided that the testimony by King Juan Carlos's youngest daughter would not be officially captured on video either, only as a voice recording. Security measures at the door of the Palma de Mallorca courthouse were extreme, with guards on the lookout for hidden cameras.

The spot where Carvajal sat in the courtroom coincided with the angle of the images seen on Wouzee. Prior to the arrest, the police had interrogated all the lawyers and public servants present in the room, to determine where each one had sat during the six and a half hours that Doña Cristina answered the judge's questions. The angle suggested that the recording was made from the area reserved for lawyers and civil servants, behind Doña Cristina.

Over 200 agents had been deployed by the Interior Ministry to prevent such a circumstance. There were metal detectors and an X-ray tunnel at the door, and some people were frisked for recording devices. While the princess testified, the police emitted special frequencies to inhibit cellphones and other forms of wireless communications. Bags were searched, and zealous agents even took apart the pen brought in by the anticorruption attorney in the Balearics, Pedro Horrach.

Cristina was testifying in connection with her husband Iñaki Urdangarin's dubious business practices. He and a business partner are believed to have diverted millions of euros from no-bid contracts earned through a phony non-profit from the governments of Valencia and the Balearics. A lot of the money was channeled to private companies, including Aizoon, owned jointly by Urdangarin and the princess. Infanta Cristina's credit card history shows she used part of this money to pay for private expenses.

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