Spain: Royal corruption scandal-Royalty In the News
February 28, 2012
[FACT comments: The Royals in Spain are wildly popular and their appearance in Thailand to celebrate Nai Luang’s celebration of a 60-year reign gave them a warm reputation among Thais. However, those who are against the monarchy are free to express their opinions in Spain and even agitate for the demise of the ‘high institution’. It would be unthinkable for Thai police to charge any member of the Royal family, even one by marriage. Who, exactly, is free speech hurting?
In searching for information about this case, we came across The Asian Royals Message Board http://members.boardhost.com/Asianroyal/ which lists Royals from 14 almost-Asian nations. Thailand’s Royals are conspicuous in their absence.]
Iñaki Urdangarin Appears Before Spanish Judge
Royalty In the News: February 26, 2012
The Spanish King’s son-in-law, [The Most Excellent Don] Iñaki Urdangarin [Liebaert], the Duke of Palma de Mallorca, appeared in a Palma court Saturday to face questioning over embezzlement and fraud charges [in the so-called Palma Arena case].
[FACT: The duke, born in 1968, is a retired handball player. He is married to HRH Infanta Cristina (Cristina Federica Victoria Antonia de la Santísima Trinidad de Borbón y de Grecia), youngest child of King Carlos and Queen Sofia, and seventh in line for the Spanish throne. The Duchess has been a member of the shadowy Bilderberg group since 2001. Wikipedia: The couple have lived in Washington DC since 2009, where Urdangarin works for Telefónica.]
He is being investigated for his involvement in alleged misuse of [€5,800,000] in public funds [for public works never done or vastly over-budgeted] at his non-profit Noos Institute, which Urdangarin ran from 2004 to 2006. [BBC: Some of the money allegedly ended up in for-profit companies which he ran. He stepped down as head of the institute in 2006.] [Wikipedia: In December 2011, the Anticorruption bureau confirmed that Urdangarin had been sending important sums of public money to tax havens in Belize and the UK. BBC: The royal family has said it will now make its accounts publicly available.]
On his way to court, Urdangarin spoke to reporters, telling them, “I appear today to demonstrate my innocence, my honor, my professional activity. For all these years I have discharged my duties and taken decisions properly and transparently.”
Inside, Urdangarin spoke to Judge Jose Castro in a closed court. According to an anonymous official, the Judge asked the Duke about the workings of his companies involved in the case.
It is the judge who will decide if the case should go to trial.
Outside the court were anti-monarchists protesting the Duke. Some waved the flag Spain had during its brief republican government from 1931 to 1939, while others had signs that read “Inaki owes us money” and “Monarchy Corruption”.
“We want justice to be the same for all Spaniards. He should be convicted,” said protester Claudio Borilla.
Urdangarin’s alleged involvement in this matter led him to be sidelined by the Spanish royal family [and the Casa del Rey, Spain’s Royal household bureau], which means he is excluded from official duties, such as National Day events.
[Wikipedia: In the King’s Christmas speech on 24 December 2011, King Juan Carlos stated that “La justicia es igual para todos” (“Justice is the same for everyone”), suggesting a strong reference to Urdangarin although the following day he backtracked to say he was speaking generically.]
“When untoward conduct arises which is not in keeping with the law and ethics, society naturally reacts. Fortunately we live by the rule of law and any unworthy act must be judged and penalised,” he said.
[BBC: The Spanish royal family is largely well-regarded in the country, with King Juan Carlos credited with steering the country through the transition from dictatorship to democracy.
It has responded to the scandal by announcing it will make available a full breakdown of its annual spending.]
Sources: BBC, Reuters UK