Sunday, January 12, 2014

Spain: When will the nightmare end

SPAIN’S ailing King Juan Carlos stumbled clumsily through a speech to the armed services' top brass on January 6th, provoking further speculation about his ability to act as head of state. The next day his daughter Princess Cristina (pictured) was accused of “greed” by an investigating magistrate who ordered her to explain, amongst other things, why she billed salsa classes, her children's birthday parties and household crockery to a company she part-owned with her husband, which was allegedly used to commit tax fraud. The two events augured yet another year of turmoil for a royal family with tumbling popular support.
The increasingly frail-looking 76-year-old monarch, who has had five hip operations over the past two years, had hoped the princess would escape the attention of investigating magistrate José Castro, who has already named her husband Iñaki Urdangarín as a suspected embezzler and tax fraudster. But Judge Castro has now also made her an official suspect and told her to appear before him at a court in Palma de Mallorca in March. Under Spanish law that is not a formal indictment and she may yet escape trial, but the magistrate says she has much explaining to do.

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