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Princess gives evidence in corruption probe case

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SMILING: Princess Cristina arriving at court in Palma de Mallorca, where a judge examined the use of funds in Aizoon, the firm she co-owns with her husband. Photo: AP/Manu Fernandez

SMILING: Princess Cristina arriving at court in Palma de Mallorca, where a judge examined the use of funds in Aizoon, the firm she co-owns with her husband. Photo: AP/Manu Fernandez

REUTERS

SMILING: Princess Cristina arriving at court in Palma de Mallorca, where a judge examined the use of funds in Aizoon, the firm she co-owns with her husband. Photo: AP/Manu Fernandez

SPAIN'S Princess Cristina was accused of being "evasive" as she gave evidence for the first time yesterday in a corruption case that has tarnished the image of the country's royal family.

The younger daughter of King Juan Carlos was questioned for several hours by Jose Castro, an investigative judge, as part of an inquiry into an alleged financial scandal involving her husband, Inaki Urdangarin.

The princess, 48, is the first royal-born member of the Bourbon family to be called as a suspect in a Spanish court.

She is facing a preliminary investigation for alleged tax fraud and money-laundering through a company that she co-owned with Mr Urdangarin, who is a retired member of the Spanish national handball team.

He is facing a separate investigation for allegedly embezzling around €6m of public money when he was head of the Noos Institute, a not-for-profit organisation that arranged sporting events and conferences.

It is alleged that the illicit funds were siphoned off through the Aizoon consulting company that he shared with his wife.

The hearing is closed to the public. However, Manuel Delgado, a lawyer representing the Frente Civico (Civic Front), a left-wing association that has gained civil party status in the case, told reporters outside the court that "95 per cent" of the princess's answers had been "evasive".

"She appears calm, relaxed and very well prepared," he said, revealing that the princess had exercised her right not to give answers that could implicate her.

"She is not diverging from the expected script," Mr Delgado, said, adding: "Her answers are for the most part 'I don't know' and 'I am not aware'."

Without discussing the nature of the questions put to the princess, except to say that they "were rigorous", he said the princess had told the judge that she had "great trust in her husband".

Neither Princess Cristina nor her husband have been formally charged with any crime and both deny wrongdoing.

© Telegraph

Irish Independent