The Infanta Cristina at the time of her first court summons last year which was suspended.
As part of the ongoing Nóos case, investigating judge José Castro has once again pointed a finger at the King’s younger daughter, Cristina de Borbón. To justify his accusations of fraud and money laundering, the judge has stated that it would have been impossible for Cristina not to have known of the fraudulent business dealings carried out by her husband Iñaki Urdangarin.
In their attempts to avoid her court appearance in March, her defence lawyers’ strategy is to place all responsibility for the tax offences committed by the firm Aizoon on Urdangarin. Co-owned by the Infanta and her husband, the company was allegedly used as a cover to “divert” around a million euros of public funds into private hands. It was also used to commit tax fraud, says the judge. There is speculation that the reputation of the Spanish royals could be salvaged by Cristina renouncing her dynastic rights to the throne.
José Castro, the judge in charge of the Nóos case, has issued a second court summons to the Infanta Cristina in a long and damning statement outlining his reasons.
In his insistence that the Infanta should be questioned as a suspect on March 8th, the judge has produced a 227-page document. In it he specifies the evidence that he has gathered against Cristina’s husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, which also points to her involvement in fraud and money laundering. Both of these crimes were apparently carried out through the accounts of Aizoon, the company she co-owned with her husband.
The first of Castro’s arguments is that it is his unavoidable duty as the judge investigating the case to hear the Infanta’s version of events, bearing in mind that there is evidence of her participation in Urdangarin’s alleged crimes. He argues that not doing anything with the existing proof would amount to perversion of justice.
Castro has also rejected the need to give the Infanta special treatment because of her position as a prominent member of the royal family. He added that nobody should be surprised that he would like to interrogate her.
Turning a blind eye
For the judge the mountain of irregularities committed by Aizoon would have been impossible if the Infanta had not “looked the other way”.
He said that Urdangarin would have had difficulty defrauding the tax authorities without “at least the knowledge and acquiescence” of his wife. The judge believes it impossible that the Infanta, “highly educated”, was not aware of the alleged irregularities carried out by her husband, all the more since his business dealings were the subject of debate in the Balearic courts as long ago as 2006. What’s more she never used her joint holding in Aizoon to put a stop to the alleged crimes. On the contrary, there are “more than enough indications that she actively collaborated” in the fraud.
Castro recognises that in terms of the Infanta’s earnings from her job at La Caixa and funds from the royal family, there are no signs of irregularities. However when it comes to other assets, this is not the case. The Infanta never declared any dividends from Aizoon and the company claimed, on paper, not to give out dividends but instead to keep all its profits as excess funds.
The reality was different because the two partners - the Infanta and Urdangarin - were apparently using the company’s profits for a continuous stream of personal expenses that had nothing to do with Aizoon. These include foreign trips, meals out, presents, private coaching sessions, home renovations as well as birthday parties.
“Everything points to the Infanta participating in the organisation and budgeting of these private family occasions,” claims Castro. Additionally the Infanta only spent 3,000 euros from her private funds in eight years. She also hired domestic staff illegally, paying them in cash. In order to regularise their position she then gave them Aizoon contracts knowing they would not be working for the company.
In Castro’s opinion the presence of the Infanta, the King’s youngest daughter, as co-owner of Aizoon acted as a shield to stop the tax authorities investigating any irregularities.
“The Infanta ensured that Aizoon became an essential part of the process of committing fraud and tax evasion”, concludes the judge in his summons.
The Infanta could still avoid her court appearance as she did earlier this year. This time it will be the same judges responsible for suspending her first summons last May who will have to make the final decision again about the Infanta’s court appearance.