KING Juan Carlos' younger daughter, the Infanta Cristina has been formally charged with tax evasion and will appear in court on March 8.
Judge José Castro considers that she was a 'silent collaborator' in her husband, Iñaki Urdangarín's own fraud and money-laundering operations through his company, the Nóos Institute, which he and business partner Diego Torres disguised as a non-profit organisation in order to benefit from public funds.
Castro believes the firm Aizoon, which the Duchess of Palma owned 50 per cent of – the other half being in Urdangarín's name – was a front company for the Nóos racket, enabling the couple to make 'fraudulent expenditure' using business funds.
Aizoon was a 'shield' to ward off the Duke and Duchess' tax obligations, says Judge Castro.
“I cannot see that anyone should consider it scandalous that one wishes to pose questions relating to this situation,” stated the judge.
He insisted there was 'not a shred of prejudice' in his decision to charge the Infanta, and that he was not biased because of her status.
“It is unacceptable that summoning public figureheads, particularly those linked to State institutions, should enjoy special protection,” Judge Castro continued.
“We would be sanctioning those connected to such institutions who fail in their obligation to adhere to the laws of the State, whilst not applying this same protection to others who do not hold such status, simply because of the media repercussions summoning public figureheads would cause.”
Castro said Urdangarín would have 'found it very difficult' to defraud the tax authorities 'without at least the knowledge and implied acceptance' of his wife, 'however much' the Infanta 'pretended to ignore it' in front of other people.
“We are not trying to claim the daughter of HRH King Juan Carlos has breached her public duties at law – merely attempting to establish to what extent she was, de facto, aware of the illegal operations being carried out through her connections to Aizoon,” the report from the judge claims.
Sources from the Royal Household merely limited themselves to saying they respected and would adhere to decisions of the court.
This will mean the Duchess of Palma having to fly back to Spain from Geneva, Switzerland, where she has recently relocated to with her job of more than 20 years with the charitable and arts sponsorship foundation of La Caixa bank.
The Infanta moved there in the summer with the couple's children in time for them to start the new school term, but Urdangarín stayed behind in Barcelona in case he was called upon to attend court.
He could face 23 years in jail if found guilty, and assets to the value of eight million euros have been embargoed, including the family home in Pedralbes, Barcelona province.
The Pedralbes mansion is up for sale, but the embargo will not affect this – it simply means that whoever buys it will have to pay part of the purchase price to the court rather than the vendors.