Iñaki Urdangarin, the son-in-law of Spain's King Juan Carlos, was subpoenaed on Thursday to appear before a Palma de Mallorca judge on February 6 to testify in a case related to the diversion of public funds to private companies through a non-profit institute he set up.
Judge José Castro lifted the secrecy of his months-long investigation into Urdangarin's Nóos Institute, and named the 43-year-old husband to Princess Cristina as an official defendant. Urdangarin's partner, Diego Torres, will also have to appear in court on January 5.
The casefile contains more than 2,700 pages, which describe how money from the Balearic Islands' government was funneled to the royal son-in-law's companies.
Castro also warned Urdangarin, who has been living in Washington with his family since the summer of 2009, that if he doesn't show up to testify an arrest warrant will be issued.
Urdangarin found out about his subpoena while on vacation at a ski resort in the United States, where he is spending the Christmas holidays with his family and his sister-in-law, Princess Elena, who is visiting.
His lawyer, Mario Pascual Vives, said that there appeared to be increasing pressure from the public for Urdangarin to face charges.
Speaking to reporters, the Barcelona lawyer reiterated his client's innocence and ruled out that Urdangarin would move back to Spain as the judicial proceedings against him continue.
In a brief statement, the Zarzuela royal palace declined to make a detailed comment, simply saying: "As we said before, we respect the rulings of the court."
Former Balearic Islands government officials, such as the one-time sports director José Luis Ballester, have also been called to appear before Judge Castro later next month.
The investigation lists a host of charges that Urdangarin and others could face including embezzlement of public money, falsifying documents, public fraud and dereliction of official duties. The case is an offshoot inquiry of the biggest Palma Arena investigation, in which former Balearic Islands regional premier Jaume Matas of the Popular Party (PP) and others have been charged in an alleged public fraud scheme in the construction of a sport arena.
The Nóos Institute organized two tourist-sports conventions for the island government, charging the PP administration 2.3 million euros. The investigation shows that half the money ended up in private for-profit entities run by Urdangarin and Torres.
Anti-corruption prosecutors also found a similar alleged scheme in Valencia, where the PP government of then-Francisco Camps paid Nóos close to three million euros to organize similar events between 2004 and 2006.