Spain: A fallen Duke, a public scandal, and a web of royal lies
Iñaki Urdangarín, Duke of Palma de Mallorca and husband to King Juan Carlos’ daughter Cristina, has been accused of corruption and money laundering.
By UNIVISION NEWS
Channel: Latin American Affairs
Iñaki Urdangarín became Duke by marrying Spanish King Juan Carlos’ daughter, Infanta Cristina, only a year after they met at the 1996 games in Atlanta. Tall and handsome, Urdangarín was a pro handball player who retired in 2000 and later became a businessman. Now 43, Urdangarín’s obscure dealings with his companies have led prosecutors to recently accuse him of diverting public funds for his own profit and leading a scheme of corruption and money laundering that has caused the Royal Family to prevent him from attending any public ceremonies until the investigations are over.
“(His conduct) does not seem exemplary,” announced Rafael Spottorno, the head of the Spanish royal house.
Prosecutors declared that Urdangarín and his partner at the Nóos Institute, Diego Torres, diverted some 5.6 million euros ($8 million) through societies linked to Nóos, and then sent the money to tax havens in Belize and the U.K. Presidents for soccer clubs Villarreal CF and Valencia CF have declared they paid large amounts of money to both Torres and Urdangarín in exchange for favors and connections. From Valencia, Urdangarín received some 30,000 euros ($39,000)
“It was Iñaki Urdangarín the one asking for it,” said former Valencia CF president Juan Bautista Soler in a sworn statement.
At Villarreal CF, in exchange for a 13-page report on sponsoring prospects, the two of them received some 600,000 euros ($770,000).
“I thought those responsible for Nóos Institute had the capacity to get sponsors,” explained current Villarreal CF president Fernando Roig.
Reports say Urdangarín and Torres cashed in some 2,794,440 euros ($3.5 million), while Torres received 749,505 euros ($961,764) from other companies like Virtual Strategies (2004-2007), 456,381 euros ($456,381) from Shiriaimasu (de 2004 a 2007), and 853,102 euros ($1.100 million) from Intuit Strategy Innovat (de 2005 a 2007).
El País reports that former Duke associates and consultants at Nóos are distancing themselves in an effort to release themselves from any liability. But the scandal has reached the Duke’s wife, Cristina, whose joint company, Aizoon is now under investigation too.
The Duke is also charged with profiting from tax evasions after he “managed” operations to buy sports teams, and using his influence in an illegal manner to ease business acquisitions on behalf of others.
Torres and Urdangarín are now reportedly feuding with each other, accusing one another, and avoiding Spain as much as possible. Urdangarín now lives with his wife and children in Washington DC. He’s reportedly apologized to King Juan Carlos for the scandal, claiming he had no involvement in the accusations.
His lawyer, Mario Pascual Vives said, “I always feel convinced that he is totally innocent.”