Inaki Urdangarin, the Duke of Palma, son-in-law of Spain’s popular King Juan Carlos, stands accused of misusing a portion of an USD 8 million public grant to his not-for-profit Noos Institute. After Saturday’s first appearance before the court he appeared for the second time to face the law.
The former Olympic handball player said “I appear today to demonstrate my innocence and my honor … I have carried out my responsibilities and taken decisions correctly and with total transparency,” upon appearing in front of the court on Saturday.
Outraged protesters jeered as the Duke made his appearance in the courthouse of Palma, Majorca. Urdangarin, the Olympic handball player received the title Duke of Palma after his marriage with Princess Christina, the daughter of King Juan Carlos. From the end of 2011, the King ceased to give him prominence at public functions after whispers about his financial integrity reached the King’s ears.
Urdangarin, his wife and four children became U.S. residents in 2009 and moved to Washington D.C. to manage a subsidiary of the Spanish telecoms group Telefonica.
The accusations towards Urdangarin include questions as to whether he used his status to get lucrative deals for his nonprofit foundation, and then misappropriated funds for personal gain.
The allegations come at a time when the monarchy is already besieged with criticism of royal lifestyles in a crashing economy and towering unemployment. Urdangarin has not yet been charged with crime but is being questioned by the court to determine his role in the alleged irregularity that took place in 2004-2006. When the investigations and rumors began to grow, the Duke of Palma left Spain to become a U.S. resident with his family.
Protesters showed banners written, “Juan Carlos if you knew, why did you keep silent?”
According to the law in Spain, the court would decide after its probe, whether criminal charges should be brought against the Duke or not.
According to reports, the allegations are that the Duke secured large contracts from regional governments using his royal weight and then subcontracted the work to private companies. Allegations also include that he charged the public coffer with exorbitant rates and siphoned off income to offshore accounts.