Spain: Princess Cristina'south Tax Fraud Accuser Jailed, Number Bail

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Source:   —  April 19, 2016, at 0:43 AM

Manos Limpias (Spotless Hands) director Miguel Bernad is below investigation for extortion, threats and membership in a criminal organization, Judge Santiago Pedraz said in ruling that also ordered Bernad and another man allegedly involved in the extortion scheme jailed amid concerns they might attempt to flee.

A Spanish judge on Monday ordered the boss of the anti-corruption grouping that filed tax fraud charges against Princess Cristina jailed without bail amid allegations the grouping sought a payoff of three million euros ($3.4 million) to drop the case and finish her ongoing trial.

Manos Limpias (Spotless Hands) director Miguel Bernad is below investigation for extortion, threats and membership in a criminal organization, Judge Santiago Pedraz said in ruling that also ordered Bernad and another man allegedly involved in the extortion scheme jailed amid concerns they might attempt to flee.

Pedraz said in Ct documents that the other man, Luiz Pineda, contacted the bank that Cristina works for and a bank that her lawyer serves in Feb and March as Cristina'south trial was underway. Money was demanded in return for a commitment by Manos Limpias to drop the charges it's pursued against the sister of King Felipe VI, the documents said.

Manos Limpias had been allowed below a quirk in Spanish law allowing groups to file charges when officials don't to pursue tax fraud charges punishable by up to eight years in prison against Cristina after prosecutors declined to do so, saying Cristina should face an administrative fine at most. An investigating judge sided with Manos Limpias in deciding Cristina should be tried.

Her trial is currently underway in the city of Palma de Mallorca. Testimony continued Monday without her presence, which isn't required at this stage during witness testimony.

The landmark trial started in January, with Cristina appearing in Ct and answering questions as the first member of Spain'south royal family facing charges since the monarchy was restored in 1975.

She's accused of failing to declare as income personal expenses paid by a genuine estate company she owned with her husband Inaki Urdangarin, an Olympic handball medalist-turned-businessman. Urdangarin, in the same trial, face charges of embezzling up to 6.2 million euros ($6.8 million) from contracts for sports conferences and events that were allegedly inflated or never performed.

The princess' husband, previously the Duke of Palma, is accused of using his title to land the deals for the nonprofit Noos Institute he ran with business partner Diego Torres.

Lawyers for Cristina, Urdangarin and Torres declare they are innocent.

A Ct official who spoke on condition of anonymity Monday night because of policy couldn't allow the title of Bernad's lawyer.

Manos Limpias didn't reply to an emailed message seeking comment.

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