Manos Limpias and Ausbanc leaders jailed

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Manos Limpias leader Miguel Berna.

THE leader of the anti-corruption group that filed tax fraud charges against Princess Cristina were jailed without bail on Monday April 19, according to a report published by ABC.

Miguel Bernad, of the organisation ‘Manos Limpias’ (Clean Hands) is under investigation for extortion and membership of a criminal organisation amid allegations that his group requested a €3 million payoff in order to drop the case.

Court documents written by judge Santiago Pedraz claim that Bernad’s alleged accomplice and Ausbanc chief Luiz Pineda contacted the banks that Cristina and her lawyer work for demanding the money, and that both have now been imprisoned in case they decide to flee.

In further developments on Tuesday April 19, ABC reported that Ausbanc allegedly offered to cover all Manos Limpias expenses, including €3,000 per month rent for a Madrid office, the salary of the secretary, plus telephone, water, and electricity bills. The report claims that these monies were paid in cash since Manos Limpias does not even have a bank account.

Cristina’s trial has been underway in Mallorca since January. She is the first member of the Spanish Royal Family to face court charges since the restoration of the monarchy in 1975.

The accusations against her state that she failed to declare money paid to her by a real estate firm which she owns alongside Olympian hubby Inaki Urdangarin as income.

Urdangarin has also been charged with embezzlement to the tune of €6.2 million in relation to alleged employment of inflated or unfulfilled contracts for sports conferences and events.

The case against Cristina is only ongoing due to the intervention by Manos Limpias, after prosecutors concluded that she should pay an administrative fee at most, with the other charges dropped.

A loophole in Spanish law permits external bodies to file tax fraud charges when officials fail to do so, meaning Cristina now faces up to 8 years imprisonment if found guilty.

Lawyers for the pair maintain their innocence.

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