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Royal duties come to end for troubled son-in-law

Urdangarin spokesman says duke is "indignant" at outcry; king decides to post family's spending habits on the web

In an unprecedented move by the Spanish monarchy to stifle fallout from a criminal investigation into Iñaki Urdangarin, Zarzuela Palace announced Monday that it was sidelining the royal son-in-law from all official appearances.

At the same time, Zarzuela spokesman Rafael Spottorno confirmed an EL PAÍS exclusive that the royal family will begin posting breakdowns of its expenditures by the end of the year on the palace's website.

Meeting with reporters, Spottorno said that Urdangarin's behavior "was unbecoming" for a member of the royal household.

But Mario Pascual Vives, a Barcelona lawyer who is Urdangarin's spokesman, said the son-in-law is "worried" and "indignant" over the scandal, and criticized Spottorno's comments. "Whether anyone's conduct is becoming or not shouldn't be left to anyone's opinion," he said.

The ongoing inquiry being led by a Palma de Mallorca judge into Urdangarin's businesses has put the monarchy in an uncomfortable position. An institution which until now had been admired by Spaniards finds itself being questioned by some sectors of society for its luxurious lifestyles charged to public coffers. Last year, the royal family was allotted 8.43 million for their expenses.

The Palma judge is trying to determine whether Urdangarin diverted some six million euros from public contracts awarded to his non-profit Nóos Institute to his private companies. Sources have told EL PAÍS that he will be indicted in the coming weeks.

Urdangarin's wife, Princess Cristina, is not under investigation. When asked whether she will also be excluded from her royal duties, Spottorno said "we will see" in the future.