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Princess Cristina of Spain acquitted in fraud case as husband jailed

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Princess Cristina of Spain has been found not guilty of being an accessory to tax fraud following a year-long trial, reported Sky News.

However, her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, was found guilty of fraud and tax evasion, and sentenced to six years and three months in prison.

Despite being cleared, Cristina has been ordered to pay a €265,000 fine (nearly £230,000) as the court believed she had indirectly benefited, albeit unknowingly, from her husband's fraud.

Her husband was also fined €512,000.

Neither were called to appear in court to hear the verdict.

Princess Cristina, King Felipe VI's sister, was the first ever member of Spain's royal family to face criminal charges and could have faced up to eight years in jail.

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

The case first came to light in 2010 as part of an inquiry into corruption among regional government officials in the Balearics.

The investigation has seen 18 people tried for embezzlement, fraud and several other charges, nine of whom have now been acquitted.

Her husband, a former Olympic handball player, was accused of using his royal connections to win public contracts for his charity the Noos Institute before embezzling €6m (£5.1m) in public money.

Princess Cristina was co-owner of a real estate consultancy, one of several used to assist in the laundering of the skimmed off money.

The couple, who have lived in Switzerland with their four children since 2013, have always denied any wrongdoing.

Urdangarin, who had faced a maximum jail term of 19-and-a-half years, will be able to appeal the ruling in the country's Supreme Court.

Public opinion of the Spanish monarchy is at an all-time low, with many believing the royals are drastically out of touch with ordinary people.

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

King Juan Carlos, the father of Princess Cristina, abdicated after 40 years on the throne in favour of Felipe, his youngest son, in 2014.

Princess Cristina is sixth in succession to the throne.


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