Those that thought the royal family was above the criminal justice system can think again, as a member of the Spanish royal family has been issued jail time.
Inaki Urdangarin, the husband of Princess Cristina, has five days to report to jail and start his sentence, according to the BBC. While Princess Cristina was cleared of charges, Urdangarin, 50, was found guilty of embezzlement, influence-peddling, and tax fraud. As a result of this, he can look forward to the next five years and 10 months in jail.
This will also mean that Inaki Urdangarin is the first member of the Spanish royal family to go to jail. As well, the commencement of his jail sentence will coincide with Princess Cristina’s 53rd birthday.
While Inaki will have to go directly to jail, it doesn’t mean some leniency has been offered to him on account of who he is. Likely, because he is a member of the Spanish royal family, he will get to pick which jail he will spend time in. As yet, it is unclear which jail Urdangarin has selected.
And, while Princess Cristina was not found guilty, the Spanish royal member, who is sixth in line to the throne, did have to attend the trial before being found not guilty. If she had been found guilty, she could have stood to spend up to eight years in jail. Regardless of the outcome, though, she was stripped of her title of duchess, according to a previous article by the BBC.
The case, which saw his conviction being placed last year, but dates back to events in 2011, identified Urdangarin as “using his not-for-profit Noos Institute sports foundation on the island of Majorca to siphon off millions of euros for private use,” according to the BBC. The Noos Institute received €6m (£4.4m or $6.5m) of public money, mostly from the Balearic Islands and Valencia regional governments. As a result of this conviction, Urdangarin will not only face jail time, but was forced to pay more than €1m in fines.
The former Spanish environment minister, Jaume Matas, who was also embroiled in the case, was also convicted. Although, his jail term will be shorter than Inaki’s. According to the Express, he will spend only “three years and eight months behind bars.”
While it is still possible that Inaki Urdangarin could seek a royal pardon, it seems unlikely he will be issued one since King Felipe VI, who is Princess Cristina’s brother, has remained firmly distant from the proceedings.