Spanish court drops subpoena of king's daughter

AP News
Posted: May 07, 2013 8:25 AM

MADRID (AP) — A Spanish court Tuesday withdrew a subpoena for King Juan Carlos' daughter as a suspect in a corruption case, following an appeal by prosecutors.

The Palma de Mallorca court said it had accepted the appeal against calling 47-year-old Princess Cristina for questioning in a case concerning the alleged embezzlement of public funds by her husband Inaki Urdangarin and his former business partner.

The court summons had been a first for a member of the king's immediate family.

The nearly three-year investigation centers on whether Urdangarin and his former business partner took advantage of their royal connections to funnel about 5 million euros ($6.5 million) in public funds that their nonprofit Noos Institute received into private businesses they also controlled.

The court accepted the prosecution's argument that there was insufficient evidence of the princess' involvement in the institute's dealings but said she could still be called to answer questions regarding possible tax fraud and money laundering if the investigating judge produces new evidence.

The summons had topped off a year of health and image problems for 75-year-old King Juan Carlos, once one of Spain's most popular figures, widely admired for his role in helping Spain return to democracy in the 1970s after decades of dictatorship.

The corruption case and other issues have eroded Spaniards' admiration for their royal family — especially as a crippling economic crisis has widened the gap between rich and poor.

A poll published last week by the government-run Center for Sociological Research indicated the monarchy's popularity rating has plunged to unprecedented levels.

It said that on a scale from 0 to 10, those questioned for its April survey rated the royal family at 3.68, down from 4.89 in October, 2011, the last time the question was asked.

The Royal Palace declined to comment on the court ruling.