ROYAL SCANDAL

Police recommend Princess Cristina should arrive at courthouse by car

Final decision over royal's Nóos case testimony to be decided by senior judge

Princess Cristina of Spain will appear in court on February 8.
Princess Cristina of Spain will appear in court on February 8. David Ramos (Getty Images)

The police recommend that Princess Cristina be driven right to the door of the court building in Palma de Mallorca on February 8, when she is due to be questioned by Judge José Castro as an official suspect in the so-called Nóos Institute probe into alleged tax fraud, money-laundering and misappropriation of public funds, a judicial source said Thursday.

The alternative would be for her to face the public gauntlet and walk down the ramp that leads to the court building. Her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, chose the latter option even though he was offered the possibility of arriving by car when he was questioned in the same court over the same case. The final decision on the arrangements for Cristina's appearance will be taken by a senior judge in the Balearic Islands.

Urdangarin and his former business partner, Diego Torres, are suspected of having siphoned off millions of euros through the now defunct not-for-profit Nóos Institute by organizing public events for the Valencia and Balearic regional governments. Part of those funds are believed to have been diverted to the accounts of the Aizoon real estate company jointly owned by Urdangarin and the infanta. Castro believes the princess used some of those funds for personal reasons and declared them as tax deductible against Aizoon's income.

Cristina's testimony will be recorded but no visual images of the interrogation will be made. Judge Castro has also barred anyone from entering the court with any form of recording devices, mobile phones, tablets or laptops. A transcript of her testimony will be made and sent to the concerned parties in the case.

The princess will be obliged to leave her personal electronic devices with the police

The princess will also be obliged to leave her personal electronic devices with the police and pass through the metal detector at the entrance to the court building.

The anticorruption state attorney in the Balearics, Pedro Horrach, has opposed Judge Castro's decision to subpoena Cristina, arguing that his colleague is pursuing her for who she is, not what she has done.

Horrach successfully petitioned Castro to seek testimony from three tax inspectors who wrote a report exonerating the princess of any involvement in the business affairs of her husband, the Duke of Palma.

However, the anticorruption prosecutor's office has rejected a request from Diego Torres for Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón to appear as a witness in the Nóos case. Torres claimed there was a "personal relationship" between Urdangarin and Gallardón and that the justice minister had knowledge of Nóos's business activities.

Attorney General Eduardo Torres-Dulce has also come out against pursuing Cristina, but on Thursday offered his support to Judge Castro. Torres-Dulce said "despite the differences" with Castro, his office has "always respected his decisions and he will logically always have the support of someone who defends the law."

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