Spain's royal rendez-vous with justice

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Spain's royal rendez-vous with justice

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Spanish Princess Cristina, formally known as ‘La Infanta’, has an unusual date this Saturday, with a judge.

The younger of the King’s two daughters — no longer untouchable by royal privilege — will be questioned about suspected tax fraud and money laundering.

Investigating magistrate José Castro, on the Balearic island of Mallorca, wants to know how Her Highness’s apparently personal spending moved through Aizoon, the alleged dummy company she owned jointly with her husband Iñaki Urdangarín: a set of dishes for just over 1,700 euros, for example, dancing lessons at home or family parties.

Her former Olympic handball player husband is also a formal suspect in a long-running criminal probe into the embezzling of millions of euros in public money, with former associate Diego Torres, in the non-profit conference and event advice body he was head of, the Nóos Foundation.

Urdangarín has walked down the alleyway to the courthouse in Palma de Mallorca twice in the past couple of years. He was given the option of driving to the door but said no thanks.

Last year in April, the princess was going to be questioned by judge Castro but a higher authority ruled the evidence was too thin to warrant it.

Urdangarín’s lawyer Mario Pascual Vives dismissed any notion of cracks in the couple: “I’ve seen them very united in the face of adversity, in the face of what is going on now and in the face of what may happen in the future.”

Since that statement nine months ago, the couple have been struck off the official royal engagement calendar, since the scandal shot a gaping hole in the Spanish monarchy’s credibility.

You see, two years ago, when the Urdangarín scandal was just breaking, King Juan Carlos told Spaniards in his Christmas speech that their justice was impartial.

“Fortunately, we live in a state of law, and any reprehensible act should be judged and punished accordingly. Justice is equal for everyone.”

Now, that principle is being put to the test with his daughter, seventh in line for the Spanish throne.

The princess and Urdangarín have denied any wrongdoing.

Unlike her husband, Cristina has not waived the option of arriving for her Saturday court appearance by car.