ROYAL SCANDAL

Judge uncovers more suspected wrongdoing by King's son-in-law

Urdangarin used private funding in bid to organize conference

The judge overseeing the investigation into whether Iñaki Urdangarin, husband of King Juan Carlos' daughter Cristina, used a non-profit organization to siphon off funds from the regional government of the Balearic Islands has revealed Urdangarin tried to organize a third tourism conference in 2007.

Investigators charge that the Nóos Institute, run by Urdangarin, previously organized two tourism conferences for the Balearic Islands. As part of a broader investigation into political corruption in the region, prosecutors have been investigating whether he used his royal credentials to secure contracts for his foundation from the regional authorities to organize sports and tourism events and then siphoned off part of the contract fees to other companies and offshore accounts that he and his associates controlled.

King Juan Carlos has said that by 2007 he had told his son-in-law to distance himself from the Nóos Institute.

Urdangarin has already been questioned by Judge José Castro Aragón, and along with his business partner Diego Torres, will face trial in the coming months, once the police and court investigation is concluded.

The final phase of the investigation has revealed that at least two as yet unnamed private companies - one operating in the tourism sector and the other in transport - provided the Nóos Institute with money to organize the conference, but that this was never returned.

Several witnesses in the Nóos fraud investigation, some of them close associates or friends of Urdangarin, have added credence to the prosecution's allegations of accounting fraud. Their accounts have also corroborated much of the evidence gathered when Nóos's offices were raided in November on the orders of Judge Castro. Among the documents seized by the police at the time were bills carrying dates relating to contracts that were signed only subsequently.

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