SPANISH ROYAL SCANDAL

Embattled royal couple sells off Barcelona mansion to pay court bond

Cristina de Borbón and Iñaki Urdangarin will also use the €6.9m proceeds to pay off debts

The Pedralbes mansion recently sold by Cristina de Borbón and her husband.
The Pedralbes mansion recently sold by Cristina de Borbón and her husband.Albert García

Princess Cristina de Borbón and her husband Iñaki Urdangarin, who are both embroiled in a criminal inquiry involving embezzlement and tax fraud, have sold off their high-priced Barcelona mansion.

Known as the Pedralbes Palace, the 1,000m2 property was purchased by an unknown buyer for €6.9 million after the investigating judge in the case authorized the transaction.

The funds are meant to cover part of the combined civil bond of €16.1 million that the couple have to post (€13.5 million for Urdangarin and €2.6 million for King Felipe VI’s sister).

Last week, King Felipe VI stripped his sister of the title of Duchess of Palma, which she had held since 1997

All the proceeds of the sale have been monitored by the courts: after paying off the mortgage, the interest and the late fees, there will be €2.3 million left. This amount will be deposited in an account controlled by the courthouse in Palma de Mallorca, where the case is being handled.

The couple had bought the mansion in 2004 and completely refurbished it before moving in.

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For nearly two years, the property was up for sale with a price tag of €9.8 million. Before that, when the family was living in the United States, it was being rented out.

Prosecutors are seeking a 19-year prison sentence for Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball player whose private businesses dealings have landed him in trouble with the courts. He and a business partner are charged with embezzlement, document forgery, tax fraud and other crimes in connection with the activities of their Nóos Institute.

This supposed non-profit secured millions of euros in no-bid contracts from the regional governments of Valencia and the Balearic Islands for organizing sports events. Much of this money was channeled to other firms owned by the partners. One of these companies was co-owned by Cristina de Borbón, who used a company credit card to make personal purchases and then claimed tax deductions.

Cristina de Borbón’s criminal responsibility in the case has been the subject of legal controversy. While Judge José Castro has concluded that she must stand trial for tax fraud, his own anti-corruption attorney, Pedro Horrach, sees no supporting evidence for this move, and has accused the magistrate of targeting the princess for who she is, rather than for what she has done.

Once active members of the royal family, Cristina de Borbón and Iñaki Urdangarin have been sidelined from any official activities since the scandal broke. Last week, King Felipe VI stripped his sister of the title of Duchess of Palma, which she had held since 1997 when she married Urdangarin.