THE Palma Arena case, which began as an investigation into alleged irregularities in the Balearic Government, has involved the Spanish Royal Family.
But for me the obvious question would be: did the King’s daughter, the Infanta Cristina, know of her husband’s alleged illicit activities?
The Royal son-in-law, the Duke of Palma, Iñaki Urdangarin, has been formally charged with misuse of public funds while he was president of the Noos Institute and summoned to court next month with 14 other defendants.
Other charges include corruption, embezzlement and tax evasion.
However, his wife Cristina has not been charged although it has been revealed that she invested €1,500 in their business, promoter Aizoon, which was allegedly used by Iñaki to divert funds, which in three years generated a return on her investment of €571,000.
It seems to me very unlikely that Cristina wasn’t aware of what her husband was doing, especially as they owned 50 per cent each of the company, which received funds from the Valencian, Balearic and Catalan regional governments, as well as a long list of other public institutions.
However, to date, the judge believes there is no proof that she participated in his illegal doings, although documents prove that she benefited from them. Lawyer Fernando Pamos has denounced Cristina before the General State Prosecutor, wanting to know her exact role in Aizoon.
This comes after the discovery of an e-mail in which Urdangarin and another person speak of “complications” regarding how to justify some of Cristina’s expenses through the company.
A witness in the case claims she was did not take part in the management or decision taking, which was carried out solely by Urdangarin, his associate Diego Torres and three other people.
Her signature was on many documents, can we really believe that she simply signed what Iñaki gave her, without reading it first? How could she not have known?
Did she not wonder where all the money was coming from? For more than a decade she worked for one of Spain’s main financial institutions, La Caixa, and is no stranger to money matters.
Plus, the Royal Household advised Urdangarin to leave Noos because the operation of the institute “was not the most adequate”, and to go abroad.
However, the Royal Household may appear to have banished Urdangarin, but the personal secretary to the Infantas, Carlos Garcia Revenga, maintains their trust, despite having been treasurer for the Noos Institute when the alleged embezzlement took place between 2004 and 2006.
Garcia, who has worked at La Zarzuela Palace for almost 20 years, maintains an office there and has the trust of the Head of the Royal Household, Rafael Spottorno, as well as advising and accompanying the King’s eldest daughter, Elena, to all official events.
When the case came to light, the King commented that Garcia’s position as treasurer had been a strictly personal endeavour. However, he was personal secretary to the Infantas at the same time as he was managing multimillion-euro deals for Noos.
When he left Noos, he set up a financial advisor with the Infanta Elena, in which he was the sole administrator. In 2008, the King forced them to break up the company.
Would this not suggest that the monarch was aware that not everything was above board and got his eldest daughter out before anything damaging came to light?
And most importantly, if Cristina, the King or any other members of the Royal Family were aware of or involved in the alleged illicit activities, will they face the law?
According to the Spanish Constitution, only the King cannot be tried. How will this affect the formerly positive position which the Royal Family held in the eyes of most Spaniards?
Could Iñaki have nudged Spain further in the direction of becoming a Republic.
By Anne Wibrow