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Infanta in court on February 8 and residents cash in to 'rent a view' to reporters
By thinkSPAIN Team Mon, Jan 20, 2014
HOMEOWNERS and traders on the C/ Parellades in Palma de Mallorca are hoping to make a healthy wad of cash on Saturday, February 8 when the King and Queen's youngest daughter testifies in court after having been charged in relation to the Nóos money-laundering case.
For the first time in Spain's modern history, a member of the Royal family will be cross-examined in her capacity as accused party in a criminal trial.
Whilst the State prosecutor and judge José Castro have come to blows over the charges levied against the Infanta Cristina, Duchess of Palma – the former considering the accusations are merely 'because of who she is' and lacking in proper legal grounds – residents with balconies or windows that overlook the court building are filled with excitement and rubbing their hands together.
TV and press reporters will be contacting them to rent a view for the day in the hope of snapping a lucrative shot of the Infanta as she makes her way into the court building, and the going rate is said to be in region of 2,000 euros for the day.
The Infanta's husband, Iñaki Urdangarín – who is currently accused with fiscal offences worth up to 23 years in jail through his dealings with the Nóos Institute, a business disguised as a non-profit entity of which he was joint director – had to walk into the court along the main entrance, giving reporters plenty of time to catch him on camera.
It is not yet known whether the King and Queen's younger daughter will have to do the same, or whether she will be permitted to be driven to and from the doors to avoid the media circus.
But if she has to undertake the 40-metre 'walk of shame' into the building, the photos and videos are expected to work their way around the world in a matter of minutes.
Business owners and residents have been renting out their 'views' and parking spaces for the day whenever Urdangarín appeared in court, and they include a local book shop owner who says she let reporters leave their cars on her ramp.
She did this for free, but if she is approached when the Duchess appears before the judge, she will ask for an advert for her shop in the photographers' newspaper in exchange rather than setting a price in cash.
'Sometimes they hang around until 04.00hrs, using your electricity'
The best view is apparently at number 15 of the C/ Parellades, but the owner says she will not let the press or the TV in unless they pay her.
In the past, they have asked to be able to use her balcony or a room with a window view, but claimed they did not have any money to pay her, so she refused.
“It's an inconvenience – they use your electricity, move your furniture around if it's in their way and spend hours there. One of my neighbours says they arrived the evening before a court case once and were still there at 04.00hrs the following morning,” says the owner of number 15.
“So it's only fair they pay you for it.”
Although inhabitants of the street hope to cash in on the trial, they say such high-profile court cases are 'annoying' and 'a hindrance'.
Streets are blocked off and surrounded by police and private security cars and armed guards, and local people cannot go out and do their grocery shopping.
Retailers say customers can barely access their premises because of the road blocks and, if they do manage to enter and buy goods, their bags are immediately inspected when they step out into the street.
Residents out for a walk or going about their daily business are frequently stopped and ordered to open their bags for the police to search, and show their identification, claim occupants of the street near the court.
They have to produce their ID upon entering and leaving their homes and cannot get their cars out or park them in their garages while a hearing is under way, the residents say.
And the bookshop owner says on occasions when Urdangarín had to testify, her customers were unable to pay by credit or debit card since the phone line inhibitors set up for the court case meant her card machine did not work.
Restaurants and bars in the area, however, say they do a roaring trade whenever Urdangarín or, more recently, former regional government president of the Balearic Islands, Jaume Mata, have to appear in court.
“It's worth open on a Saturday for,” said one restaurateur who usually closes her premises on that day.
The restaurant is right in front of the court and reporters start to arrive weeks before a high-profile court case – in fact, they have already installed themselves ready for the Infanta's trial three weeks away.
When the Duchess has to appear before the judge on February 8, the restaurant will open at 07.00hrs and will not close until the day's session in court is over.
Just in case it runs through until the afternoon, the restaurateur has worked out a midday menu specially designed for reporters following the case – 'something quick, practical and warm, because they will be freezing cold waiting around'.
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