On Monday January 11, the Noos trial began in Palma in which King Felipe VI’s sister, Cristina de Borbon, and her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, along with 16 other defendants, were on trial in one of the highest profile cases ever to be seen in Spain, and the first in which a member of the royal family is on trial.
Journalists from all over the world were at the courts and security was tight in Palma with over 100 police officers in attendance.
The elder sister of the King and sixth in line to the throne was seen to be serious and attentive throughout the proceedings whilst her husband, facing more serious charges, appeared relaxed, enjoying a catch up with his old colleague, Diego Torres, also in the docks.
The first day’s preliminary session was long, finishing late in the evening after nearly 13 hours in which lawyers for those on trial gave their reasons why their clients should not be there. Although it has taken six years for investigations to be made into the millions of euros which went missing, it seems that charges against Cristina could still be thrown out if her lawyers get their way.
Cristina de Borbon’s defence spent the day arguing that she should not stand trial for tax fraud as she has not been accused of any wrongdoing by the state or by the tax authorities, instead she has only been brought to charge by a private anti-corruption group, Manos Limpias.
Public prosecutors also backed the princess’s exoneration, accepting her argument that she was not personally involved with the companies’ alleged transactions and declaring that the tax officials have no legal case against the princess.
A legal doctrine recognised in a 2007 banking case was precedent for the arguments, but had been dismissed by the court that held the preliminary review of the royal’s case.
The court was adjourned after Monday’s session and the trial will continue on February 9. It is believed the court hearing will end in June and sentences are expected to be handed out before the end of the year.