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Sister of Spain's King to Stand Trial on Tax-Fraud Charges

  • VOA News

FILE - Spain's Princess Cristina walks toward her office in Barcelona, Spain.

FILE - Spain's Princess Cristina walks toward her office in Barcelona, Spain.

A judge in Spain has ordered Princess Cristina, sister to Spain's King Felipe VI, to stand trial on two charges of tax fraud.

The historic decision Monday follows a four-year investigation that has damaged the Spanish monarchy.

The case involves allegations that Cristina's husband, former Olympic handball player Inaki Urdangarin, embezzled millions of dollars in public money through his nonprofit foundation.

Judge Jose Castro said Monday that the couple and 15 others will stand trial. Her lawyers have said she is innocent and Cristina, 49, has denied any wrongdoing.

Recommended charges

Prosecutor Pedro Horrach recommended charges for Urdangarin carrying a possible sentence of 19 years in prison, while saying Cristina should not be indicted but ordered to pay to pay 580,000 euros ($711,000) to cover the amount she could have profited from because of her husband's alleged illegal dealings, according to The Associated Press.

Castro had the option of accepting Horrach's recommendations or sending Cristina to be tried by a different judge. The case will probably go to trial at the end of 2015 in Palma de Mallorca in Spain's Balearic Islands, where most of the alleged offenses occurred.

The case played a role in former King Juan Carlos abdicating his throne in June to Cristina's brother Felipe, 46, who has pledged to make reforms.

Asked to comment on the ruling, a royal spokesman said it "has the utmost respect for the independence of the judiciary."

Some material for this report from AP and AFP.