1 July 2014

A key suspect in a corruption case involving the brother-in-law of the King of Spain claimed that the royal palace was deeply involved in the business affairs of the corrupt business. Diego Torres, a former marketing guru made this claim in his appeal against recent guilty ruling of Spanish judge Jose Castro. If found guilty, Torres and his wife will face fraud and money laundering charges along with Spanish Prince Cristina and her husband Iñaki Urdangarin.

Judge Jose Castro passed the judgment after two years of investigation into the affairs of Nóos Institute, a charitable sports foundation. Princes Cristina is a board member of Nóos. It was alleged that Urdangarin and Torres embezzled $ 8 million in public funds through the Nóos foundation.

Popularity of the Spanish royal family has seen a huge dent with some speculating that the recent abdication of King Juan Carlos was due to the Nóos saga.

In Monday’s appeal hearing Torres attempted to shift the blame on the royal family and claimed that he and his wife were never engaged in any illegal dealings. He claimed that Urdangarin was main player while he and his wife were just ‘peons’.  He also said that Urdangarin did not act alone but everything was signed, sealed and authorized by top state officials.  In support of his claim he said that the authorities were present at the negotiations involving the use of royal’s summer residence for sports events.

To protect himself Torres had salvaged a hard disk from the foundation which contained 200 emails. Torres was using the emails to implicate Urdangarin. Most of the emails were mundane. There was one email to the king from Urdangarin seeking his help to get a donation from LVMH, the French luxury goods giant for a sports event. This in itself proofs nothing.

King Felipe has distanced himself from his sister and was apparently not affected by scandal. Princess Cristina and her husband Urdangarin did not attend the coronation ceremony as they were barred from palace events pending their case.

Judge Castro, in his dual role as the judge and the prosecutor, made stronger charges of tax evasion and money laundering earlier this year.

Torres testified that Urdangarin’s lawyer offered him a deal in which Torres was to take the blame for the embezzlement and in return he would be given money and a job in South America. He said that he refused this offer.