- You write that the Infanta is indicted. What does it mean? Does it mean the same in English and Spanish?
Different legal systems and languages make comparisons difficult and direct translations almost impossible. A year ago I chose to describe Iñaki’s legal situation with this word, indictment, after looking the translation from Spanish(imputación) in the dictionary and seeing the word used in a couple of occasions. However, as far as I can see, the word in English doesn’t have the same meaning.
- What does “indictment” (imputación) mean in Spanish, then?
Someone indicted is not a suspect in a criminal case and is definitely not charged with a crime. An indictment means that the judge considers there is enough evidence to start a legal process, the term belongs to a pre-trial, investigative process and the line between witness and indicted can get blurry, especially in high-profile cases. For example, an indicted person will testify with their lawyer present and can lie in their declaration in front of the judge, something that it’s illegal for a ‘mere’ witness. In short, someone indicted may have committed a crime and may (or may not) be considered a suspect later if a trial takes place.
- What is the Noos case?
The Noos case is, allegedly, a political fraud case. Iñaki Urdangarín and his partner, Diego Torres, set up a non-profit institute (the Nóos Institute), and are now under investigation for suspected misappropriation of public funds, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, falsification of official documents and tax fraud. They allegedly used the Institute to siphon off millions in public funds to private firms.
- What was the Infanta’s role in the Institute?
The Infanta was one of the board members. However, she had not been indicted until recently because they had no found any proof that she participated in the board meetings or had any role in the Institute.
- On which grounds has she been indicted?
The judge has stated that it was unlikely Urdangarin was operating behind his wife’s back and that it seems he consulted her on various aspects of the institute’s running. He also said that to not summon the infanta “would leave the question open and discredit the notion that justice is equal for all.”
- Reactions to the news?
The Public Prosecutor in charge of this case is against the Infanta’s indictment. His office has presented an appeal against the indictment because the prosecutor argued that it was “discriminatory” to cite the infanta as a suspect on the case based on the evidence that had been gathered in the course of the investigation to date. He said “absolutely nothing” had emerged in the probe to reverse the previous decision not to name her as a suspect in the case.
Initially the Royal Household refused to comment on a judicial decision but would later state their surprise on the judge’s change of opinion and express their support of the appeal.
Prince Felipe, according to El País, attended the inauguration of new judges at a ceremony in Barcelona on Thursday. “Members of the judicial profession are worthy of the highest level of trust,” said the prince, who was greeted by a standing ovation. Felipe called on the barristers to carry out their work “with strength and judiciousness.”
The reactions of the Government and the opposition are stated in the El Paísarticle.
- What happens now?
Initially she was scheduled to testify at the end of April. The judge has accepted a petition by the prosecutor’s office to suspend the subpoena of Infanta Cristina to answer questions on the case in court.
Prosecutor Pedro Horrach argued that the justice system should first rule on an appeal by the prosecutor’s office against the implication of the Infanta. In any case the Infanta contacted a few days ago one of Spain’s most important lawyers, Micquel Roca, one of the “fathers” of the Constitution. His Law Firm would be in charge of her legal defense if needed.
- Does she have any special or preferential treatment?
No. In Spain, the only member of the Royal Family with special legal treatment is the Head of State.