Princess of Spain, Cristina de Borbon may face up to 4 years in prison if convicted of tax fraud. Both the princess and her husband, Olympic gold medalist, Inaki Urdangarin will soon stand trial for tax fraud and money laundering. Urdangarin, who also faces charges of embezzling, breach of legal duty, and influence peddling, could face 19.5 years in prison.
The couple has been under investigation since 2010 when public funds amounting to about $8 million was reported missing from Noos Institute. Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball player, was a chairman and co-founder of the non-profit organization. He allegedly used his royal title, Duke of Palma, to embezzle these funds from the foundation. 15 additional people will stand trial in the case.
The couple is also suspected of stealing funds from their company, real estate consulting firm Aizoon, for personal use. This money is believed to have funded a mansion and luxury vacations for the couple. Cristina is alleged to have been involved in these affairs with her husband during 2007 and 2008.
The trial will mark the first occasion of a royal standing trial in modern Spain. This comes at a critical time for the Spanish monarchy, which was brought back into power in 1975. The allegations against the princess are the latest in a litany of criticisms against the royal family. Public outcry against the king’s 2012 elephant hunting trip preceded the abdication of King Juan Carlos. Recession and a rising unemployment rate has also increased public disapproval of the monarchy.
Bail has been set at 2.7 million euros for Princess Cristina and at 15 million euros for Urdangarin. Their case, which is being driven by an anti-corruption group known as Manos Limpias, is predicted to go to trial by the end of 2015.