A right royal laundering mess

Some months ago, in a post on laundering by female PEPs, I mentioned the ongoing saga of Infanta Cristina of Spain – and as this is the silly season for news, I thought you might welcome a regal update with your morning Jaffa Cake.  Sister of King Felipe, the Infanta is married to Iñaki Urdangarin, the Duke of Palma and a former Olympian – Mills & Boon would describe him as darkly handsome, I suspect.  And the Duke is suspected of misusing millions of euros in public funds that were given to a charitable foundation he ran.  Now, we’ve all had troublesome in-laws whom we might wish our rellies had not married, but unfortunately for the Spanish royal family, it seems that his wife may not be entirely blameless.  And in June 2014, Judge José Castro announced that the Infanta would stand trial alongside her husband on charges of tax fraud and money laundering.  We’re talking the sister of a reigning monarch, going on trial for a crime.

In the document setting out why he is committing the princess to trial, Judge Castro comments that the “love and devotion” that she professes for her husband can in no way justify her behaviour.  Under investigation are the very large amounts of money that the Duke earned (but did not declare) and then paid into a company that he owned jointly with his wife.  The judge is currently of the opinion that the Infanta was fully aware of the source of this money, and therefore demonstrated “active collaboration” in the tax evasion and the laundering of its proceeds.  If she is found guilty, she could be sentenced to fourteen years in prison.  The Infanta’s lawyer has appealed the committal on the basis that his client is being targeted because of who she is, rather than because of what she might have done, and the final decision – trial or no trial – rests with the provincial high court in Palma de Mallorca.  As for the princess, she now lives in Switzerland (I’m saying nothing, but any Swiss bankers reading might want to have a quick squiz at the PEP definition) and is in the peculiar position of no longer being an official member of the Spanish royal family – she’s not even mentioned on their website.  Things must be bad: after all, even the corgis get a mention on ours.

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