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Judge omits accountant's confession from royal corruption inquiry

Source: El Pais El Pais - Sun 13th Jul 2014
Judge omits accountant's confession from royal corruption inquiry

A Palma de Mallorca judge in charge of a corruption case involving Spain's Princess Cristina and her husband Iñaki Urdangarin has decided to ignore a last-minute confession by the accountant who worked at the latter's Nóos Institute.

Judge José Castro noted that Marco Antonio Tejeiro's confession contradicts an earlier appeal he filed the same day contesting the charges leveled against him, which include forgery, tax fraud and embezzlement.

Tejeiro negotiated the confession with Anticorruption Attorney Pedro Horrach in the hope of receiving a reduction to any prison sentence he might later be given when the trial takes place. In his written statement, Tejeiro provided detailed information about how Nóos used fake invoices and fictional job contracts to generate tax benefits. He also explained how Urdangarin and his associate Diego Torres diverted public funds to their private companies, and claimed that the pair were entirely responsible for the scheme.

Following receipt of the accountant's confession, Castro subpoenaed him to testify in court ahead of the trial and clear up the contradictions, but Tejeiro has refused to do so. The judge has now decided to leave his written statement out of the case despite calls by Horrach to include it.

Urdangarin faces 8 criminal charges, including embezzling around €6 million in public money from the regional governments of Valencia and the Balearic Islands through the securing of bidless contracts and charging wildly inflated amounts for sports events.

His wife Cristina found herself caught up in the investigation through her 50% ownership of Aizoon, a company whose sole purpose appeared to be to receive funds diverted from Nóos. King Felipe VI's youngest sister used a company card to pay for personal expenses, which were later claimed as business expenses for tax purposes.

After taking testimony from Cristina earlier this year, Judge Castro decided to maintain the charges against her, a fact that has created a rift between himself and prosecutor Horrach, who feels the princess has no responsibility in the case.

Recommended Reading :

* Spain to offer legal immunity to Royal Family

* "Princess Cristina is Innocent" : Rajoy

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