Spain's Princess Cristina cleared in tax trial

Spain's Princess Cristina acquitted in tax fraud trial

Cristina's husband, Inaki Urdangarin, was sentenced to over six years in prison on charges including fraud and tax evasion, while the princess was ordered to pay a fine of €265,000 ($282,000) because she had benefited from her husband's wrongdoing.

A panel of judges ruled that Cristina, the sister of King Felipe VI, will be required to pay almost 265,000 euros (more than $280,000) in fines because the court considers that she indirectly benefited from the fraud.

After her 1997 fairytale marriage to Urdangarin, Princess Cristina became a treasure of the celebrity press and won praise for having a salaried job.

Since the banking crisis of 2008, the country has also been hit by various high-level political and banking corruption cases.

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King Felipe's 51-year-old sister and her husband were among 18 defendants in the year-long trial following a probe into the Noos Institute, a not-for-profit charity run by Urdangarin.

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

King Felipe was in Budapest with his wife Queen Letizia when the verdicts were handed down.

The decision, which can be appealed to the Supreme Court, came after a year-long trial that was seen as a test of whether Spain's rich and powerful were accountable to the law.

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The sentencing brings an end to a yearlong trial and closes one chapter of a royal family feud that has lasted more than three years, according to the New York Times.

Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball medallist who was charged with the more serious crimes of embezzlement, influence peddling, forgery and money laundering, could face more than 19 years in prison and a 980,000 euros ($1 million) fine over claims he siphoned millions from public funds.

Some of the foundation's money was transferred to a private company and used to pay for family holidays, home furnishings and theater tickets, prosecutors said.

She was stripped of her official title - Duchess of Palma - by her brother the King ahead of her trial.

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