Spain's princess absolved, husband sentenced in tax fraud trial

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |   Feb. 17, 2017 at 10:01 AM

Feb. 17 (UPI) -- The Infanta of Spain Princess Cristina Federica has been cleared in a tax fraud case, though her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, has been sentenced to more than six years in prison.

Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball player, was sentenced on charged related to using his royal connections to generate business income for private spending. The princess was accused of being an accessory to tax fraud.

Prosecutors accused Urdangarin of using the non-profit Nóos Institute sports foundation to win inflated contracts from the government before funneling those funds to personal accounts in tax havens.

The Nóos Institute was accused of receiving more than $6.5 million in public funds, mostly from the regional governments of the Balearic Islands and Valencia.

Diario ABC España reported judges said there was no evidence to prove the princess committed a crime. She was ordered to pay a fine of $282,000 for benefiting -- though unknowingly -- from criminal finances.

Miquel Roca, the princess' lawyer, said his client is satisfied with the sentence. Roca said Federica believes Urdangarin's sentence was "unjust."

There were 16 other defendants in what became known as the Nóos case that began in 2010, including former government minister Jaume Matas, sentenced to nearly four years, and Diego Torres, Urdangarin's former business partner, sentenced to over eight years. The court acquitted nine others.

The princess, King Felipe's sister, and her husband were stripped their titles of Duke and Duchess of Palma de Mallorca in 2015.

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