Spain prosecutors oppose indicting of King's daughter in graft probe

/ MADRID (AFP) - Spanish public prosecutors on Thursday said they were against indicting King Juan Carlos' youngest daughter, Princess Cristina, in a graft probe that has plunged the royal family into crisis, citing lack of evidence.

"Mere suspicions or conjectures are not valid elements for an indictment," the prosecutor's office argued, according to a ruling by the court in Mallorca, which is leading the investigation.

The case, opened at the end of 2011, centres on allegations that Princess Cristina's husband Inaki Urdangarin and his former business partner Diego Torres embezzled 6 million euros (S$10 million) in public funds.

The money was allegedly placed in the non-profit Noos Institute, which Mr Urdangarin chaired from 2004 to 2006 and of which Princess Cristina was a board member, for it to organise sports events.

The judge leading the investigation Jose Castro named Princess Cristina as a suspect in the case in April and ordered her to appear in court for questioning.

It was the first time a direct relation of the King had been called to appear in a court of law on suspicion of wrongdoing.

But public prosecutors and Princess Cristina's lawyers lodged an appeal, citing insufficient evidence, and an appeals court in May overruled the summons.

Judge Castro then ordered an investigation into Princess Cristina's fiscal affairs and demanded the tax authorities provide him with a report on her property and other assets.

The court in Mallorca handling the case will decide whether or not to indict Princess Cristina.

The far-reaching corruption probe has plunged the royal family into its worst popularity crisis since King Juan Carlos acceded to the throne in 1975.

Princess Cristina, 48, a manager in the social programmes foundation of the Catalan finance group CaixaBank, moved to Geneva in August with her four children to work on the company's joint projects with United Nations institutions.

Her husband, a 45-year-old former Olympic handball player, has remained in Barcelona.

The palace has excluded Mr Urdangarin from its official functions since the judicial investigation was launched in late 2011.