Friday, 17 February 2017

Spain’s king brother-in-law given six years in prison for corruption scandal


Palma de Mallorca (CNA).- Former Duke of Mallorca and Spain’s king’s brother-in-law and former Duke of Mallorca, Iñaki Urdangarín, has been sentenced to six years in prison for perversion of justice, falsification and money laundering. He was one of the main responsible of the so-called ‘Nóos case’, an operation which investigated how Urdangarín’s non-profit foundation Nóos Institute obtained no-bid contracts from regional governments. His wife, Philip VI’s sister Cristina de Borbón, who was also accused of tax fraud complicity, has been finally acquitted by Palma de Mallorca’s court and will have to pay 265,000 euros fine. Former president of the Balearic Islands, Jaume Matas, who had 50% of the company ‘Nóos’ shares, has been sentenced to three years and eight months in prison while Urdangarin’s partner in the company will have to face an 8 years prison sentence.

The so-called ‘Nóos case’ investigates an alleged corruption scandal which involved the government of the Balearic Islands and part of the Royal Family. The leaders of the nonprofit foundation Nóos Institute, Iñaki Urdangarín, then Duke of Palma de Mallorca, and his business partner Diego Torres were accused of using Nóos and a corporate network of companies to embezzle about 6 million euros in public funds for sporting events. The charges were perversion of justice, falsification and money laundering. 

In the 740-page-long resolution, the court considered that the Balearic Government didn’t follow the legal proceedings applicable and hired the firm Nóos Strategic Consultancy, which was 50% owned by Urdangarín and Torres, to build the so-called ‘Project’s office’ and the Nóos Institute to organise the Balearic Islands Forum in 2005 and 2006. According to the judge, the decision responded to former Balearic President, Jaume Matas’s unilateral criteria and “the influence exercised by Mr Urdangarin”.

Torres and Urdangarin payed through the Corporation Tax yields obtained as a result of their professional activity and which should therefore have been paid through Income Tax. Moreover, they benefited from reductions which they didn’t have a right to, evading more than 120,000 euros in tax.

Prison sentences

Considering all this, Palma de Mallorca’s court sentenced Urdangarin to six and three months in prison, seven years of inhabilitation and a 521,553-euros fine. Spain’s King’s brother-in-law has been accused of repeated perversion of justice, falsification of public documents, embezzeling public money, and two crimes against the Public Treasury, influence trafficking and public fraud.

His business partner Diego Torres has been sentenced to eight years and six months in prison, and a €1,723,843 fine for his role in creating the Nóos Institute. He has been accused of the same crimes as Urdangarín but also moneylaundering.

Moreover, the court found that Diego Torres used “an international network of companies based in Belize and the United Kingdom to conceal the evaded amounts, transform them, and return them to legal circulation through successive fund transfers that ended up in accounts in his name.”

Former Balearic President, Jaume Matas, has been found guilty of perversion of justice, falsification of public documents, embezzeling public money and public fraud and been given three years and eight monhts in prison and a seven years ban from public office.

Infanta Cristina, absolved

Spain’s King’s sister, Cristina de Borbón, has been absolved of the charges she was accused of by the popular acusation. The court decided to clear her of the criminal charges against although she will have to pay a fine of €265,088 for her role in the scheme.

The trial, which started in 2016, has gathered much interest, since it was the first time that a member of the Royal Family has been brought to court.

However, the final sentences were far less severe than those aimed for by the Public Prosecutor. Indeed, Pedro Horrach ordered 19 years in prison for Urdangarín while the public accusation claimed a 26 years’ sentence. Horrach’s sentence for Torres was 16 years and a half in prison while the popular accusation, carried out by controversial far-right association ‘Manos Limpias’ ordered 22. 

  • Urdangarin

  • Spain's King brother-in-law and former Duke of Mallorca, Iñaki Urdangarín (by ACN)