Princess Cristina of Spain Found Not Guilty of Tax Fraud

Spain's Princess Cristina arrives at a makeshift courtroom for a corruption trial in Palma de Mallorca Spain Monday Jan. 11 2016

Cristina, King Felipe's sister, was cleared of being an accessory to tax fraud linked to her husband's business, according to a statement by the General Council of Judicial Power.

The court sentenced her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, to a six-year-three-month jail term for fraud and tax evasion.

However, Princess Cristina was ordered to pay a fine of $282,000 because she had benefited from her husband's wrongdoing.

The ruling said: "We must acquit and we are acquitting Cristina Federica. of tax fraud, of which she was accused".

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Authorities conflicted over whether Cristina should be tried, with an investigating judge insisting she should but the treasury and public prosecutor's office concluding she had not committed any offence.

While the case mainly revolved around Urdangarin, the prosecution had claimed that Cristina must have been aware of her husband's activities.

The trial, and the long investigation that preceded it, had been closely followed in a country jaded by high-level political and banking corruption cases, where inequality has grown in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

A spokesman for the Royal House told Spanish media that the royal family respected the court's decision.

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"Urdangarín's lawyers are expected to appeal".

The trial centred on accusations that Urdangarin used his former title, the Duke of Palma, to embezzle about $6.6 million in public funds for the non-profit organisation, the Noos Foundation.

Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball player, has been cut off from the royal family since 2014; King Felipe has also recently cut public ties with his sister "as part of efforts to fight corruption, increase transparency and improve the tainted image of the monarchy", the publication reports.

Prosecutors cited one instance when Urdangarin's company charged 1.2 million euros for a two-day tourism and sports event.

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The investigation, as well as his own lifestyle, led to the abdication of King Juan Carlos in 2014. Torres was given an eight-and-a-half year sentence.

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