Royal son-in-law apologizes for "serious damage" affecting the king

Urdangarin says Borbón family has nothing to do with his private affairs

Embattled royal son-in-law Iñaki Urdangarin apologized on Saturday for the stress and embarrassment his ongoing legal problems are causing King Juan Carlos and his family.

In a brief statement issued to Efe News Agency in Washington, where Urdangarin lives with his wife Princess Cristina and their four children, the royal consort said the Borbón family had nothing to do with the current criminal inquiry into his business affairs.

"With the accumulation of information and commentary in the media relating to my professional activities, I would like to point out that I deeply regret the serious damage these statements are causing to the image of my family and of the House of His Majesty the King, which has nothing to do with my private activities," he said.

More information
Royal duties come to end for troubled son-in-law

The king's son-in-law also announced that he has hired a legal advisor, Mario Pascual Vives, an official at the Barcelona Bar Association, to act as his spokesman. Pascual Vives is a partner at one of Barcelona's most prestigious law firms, Brugueras, García Bragado Molinero and Associates.

Urdanagrin's statement had been expected following reports that he faces possible indictment for allegedly taking part in a public-money diversion scheme in which his non-profit Nóos Institute received some six million euros in contracts from the Balearic Islands and Valencia regional governments to organize sports and tourism conferences.

Investigators believe that a lot of the money was diverted to Urdangarin's private businesses. His partner at Nóos, Diego Torres, was indicted six months ago. Judicial sources have told EL PAÍS that Urdangarin's indictment will come down in the coming weeks.

The royal family has not commented publicly about the inquiry, nor did the Zarzuela Palace issue a reaction to Urdangarin's statement to Efe.

Last month, Princess Cristina issued a brief statement defending the "honor and innocence" of the Nóos Institute, where she served on the board until 2006.

"When I know the details of the proceedings before the investigating judge of Palma de Mallorca's number three court, which up until now are secret, then I will be able to comment on the issue," she said.

Urdangarin's brief statement on Saturday, as well as Princess Cristina's declaration, have been carefully supervised and approved by their lawyers. The royal family, however, has stayed out of the ongoing judicial inquiry but nevertheless is being kept up to date with the defense strategies.

Last week, Urdangarin's case ignited a fierce debate and speculation about the future roles of the princesses, Cristina and her eldest sister Elena. On Thursday, Zarzuela Palace issued a statement reaffirming that both daughters under law will continue to be recognized as members of the royal family.

The statement came as reports surfaced that the king was discussing ways to divest the princesses from their royal duties — a viable plan especially if Urdangarin is eventually indicted.

Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS