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Spanish king distancing from son-in-law

Feb. 22, 2013 at 8:29 AM

MADRID, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- A business partner of the son-in-law of the king of Spain testified the monarch was aware their charity was troubled long before the palace acknowledged it.

Diego Torres said last week that Inaki Urdangarin, husband of a daughter of King Juan Carlos, never made a move regarding their non-profit Noos Institute without palace approval, The New York Times reported Friday.

Urdangarin and Torres face charges of misappropriation of funds and money laundering involving the institute, which was formed ostensibly to promote tourism and sporting events. They are suspected of using Urdangarin's position as duke of Palma to heighten the institute's profile to receive grants from central and regional governments.

Authorities allege the men registered the institute as a charity rather than a business to hide that they were misappropriating government money.

Torres turned over nearly 200 email messages to prove his claim that King Juan Carlos I stated concern about the Noos Institute and pressured Urdangarin to abandon the charity. The palace had insisted the king had little to do with his son-in-law.

The messages indicate little wrong-doing on the part of the king but have moved the scandal closer to the monarchy, which has been trying to distance itself from the case, the Times reported.

The palace has approached media outlets, asking them to tone down coverage of the leaked email. The Spanish royal family website has removed images and a profile of Urdangarin from its pages, the newspaper said.

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