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Spanish princess judged not guilty

spainishprincessPrincess Cristina, sister of the reigning Spanish monarch, has been acquitted of tax fraud but ordered to pay a fine of €265,000 for having benefitted from the embezzlement for which her husband was convicted.

The court in Palma, Majorca said “we must and we are acquitting Princess Cristina Federica...of tax fraud”.

The same court sentenced her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, to a term of six years and a fine of €512,000 on charges of embezzlement, influence peddling, forgery and money laundering.

The princess, 51, is King Felipe VI’s sibling and the first Spanish royal to face criminal charges since the monarchy was restored in 1975.

Urdangarin’s crimes were committed between 2o004 and 2006 and were in connection with his work for the non-profit Noos Institute sports foundation. Urdangarin, 49, is an Olympic handball medallist.

The verdict can be appealed.

The couple were not in court to hear the verdict but were instead in Geneva where they and their four children have lived since 2013.

Her lawyer, Miquel Roca, said:"She was satisfied but also ... pained to see her husband convicted. She believes his conviction is unjust, because she has always believed - and still believes - that he is innocent".

The couple had been held in great admiration by the media since their 1997 wedding and admired for both holding salaried jobs, but the couple’s lavish lifestyle gradually caused the glow to dim. People wondered how they pair was able to purchase a house for €6 million in 2004.

The scandal broke in 2011 when the country was shackled by harsh austerity, adding to the growing resentment against the ruling elite. From that time on the couple were no longer included in official public events.

The royal family gave no comment on the ruling, although the palace expressed its "greatest respect for the independence of the judiciary".

"No one is above the law," said a spokesman of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative government on Friday.