NÓOS INVESTIGATION

Judge gives princess permission to approach court in a car

Infanta Cristina will be spared having to walk down ramp on foot when she comes in for questioning

The ramp outside the courthouse in Palma de Mallorca.
The ramp outside the courthouse in Palma de Mallorca.Jaime Reina

Princess Cristina will be allowed to take a car to the entrance of the Palma de Mallorca courthouse on February 8, a senior magistrate announced on Friday, rather than walking down the ramp, as is normal for people called into the court for questioning.

Judge Francisco Martínez Espinosa made the decision based on a police report recommending that the youngest daughter of King Juan Carlos be chauffeured to the entrance.

Cristina de Borbón will answer questions from Judge José Castro in connection with the Nóos case, an inquiry into the dubious business dealings of her husband Iñaki Urdangarin, who is suspected of diverting millions of euros in money from public contracts he won without bids from the regional governments of Valencia and Balearic Islands.

Some of this money ended up in the accounts of Aizoon, a company Urdangarin and the princess own jointly and that appears to have no activity beyond being a repository for these funds. The princess is believed to have used some of that money for personal expenses and declared it as tax deductible against Aizoon’s income.

The investigation marks the first time that a member of the Spanish royal family has become an official target of a criminal probe

When he was questioned, Urdangarin had to approach the courthouse via the ramp outside, where hundreds of press photographers and journalists were waiting.

The investigation marks the first time that a member of the Spanish royal family has become an official target of a criminal probe. Judge Castro attempted to question her last year, but his decision to call her into his court was struck down on appeal.

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

Castro, for his part, has stated that it is important to show that “the law is the same for everybody.”

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