Spanish princess headed for trial on tax fraud charges
Spain's Princess Cristina walks towards her office in Barcelona, Spain, April 5, 2013. (AP / Manu Fernandez)
MADRID, Spain -- Spain's Princess Cristina looks set to be tried on charges of tax fraud after a judge Friday rejected an appeal by her lawyers against her indictment.
Cristina, 49, was indicted Dec. 22 as part of a four-year probe into her businessman husband, Inaki Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball medallist , who faces charges ranging from money laundering to fraud.
She is the first member of the Spanish royal family ordered to stand trial since the monarchy was restored in 1975.
The princess' lawyer, Miquel Roca, lamented the decision by investigative magistrate Jose Castro but said they did not plan to file a complaint.
A court spokeswoman said that on renouncing this option, the way was cleared for the trial to be held. The trial is not expected to take place before the end of this year. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with court policy.
The indictment comes as Cristina's brother, King Felipe VI, has been trying to improve the family's image after his scandal-plagued father abdicated last year.
The princess is accused of benefiting financially from an alleged scheme with Urdangarin's non-profit Noos organization, which allegedly embezzled public funds and syphoned them into Aizoon, a private company owned by the couple. She could face prison time of up to four years if found guilty.
The magistrate, Castro, probed the suspected abuse of company funds to cover the couple's personal expenses from their Aizoon real estate and consulting firm. He said examples of abuse of funds included purchases for the couple's Barcelona mansion, salsa dancing classes and vacations at luxury hotels.