Spanish King's Son-in-Law Fails to Make Bail Payment
Spanish King Juan Carlos' son-in-law faced having his assets frozen Thursday after he failed to pay bail in a corruption case that has rocked the monarchy.
Inaki Urdangarin and former associate Diego Torres Perez had until the end of Wednesday to jointly pay 8.2 million euros ($11.1 million) as ordered by a court in Palma on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca.
The bail is being applied in a civil case, and failure to pay it could lead to their property being seized but would not result in the pair being sent to prison.
The two men are suspected of siphoning off millions of euros paid by regional governments to the Noos Institute, a charitable organization based in Palma which Urdangarin chaired from 2004 to 2006.
The money was meant to cover the cost of staging sporting and tourism events.
Urdangarin and Perez have both denied any wrongdoing and have not been charged with any crime.
They have also appealed the bail amount, which Urdangarin's lawyer Pascual Vives called "exaggerated".
But the Palma court which is carrying out the investigation said Thursday that since the bail had not been paid, it would order the men to draw up a list of assets with an equivalent worth that would be frozen.
Urdangarin's assets include a luxury home in the exclusive Pedralbes area of Barcelona that he acquired with his wife in 2004, reportedly for around six million euros.
A court source said that no assets would be seized immediately however.
"His private mansion will not be seized tomorrow. It is a slow process," she told Agence France Presse.
Earlier this week Vives said he might ask Spain's Constitutional Court to call off the investigation on the grounds that Urdangarin has not been able to defend himself properly.
Urdangarin, who acquired the title of Duke of Palma in 1997 when he wed the king's youngest daughter Cristina, has been called to appear before the Palma court on February 23.
The 45-year-old former Olympic handball player was jeered in February last year when he arrived at the court to be questioned for the first time as part of the investigation.
The court has also summoned Carlos Garcia Revenga, secretary to the king's daughters Elena and Cristina -- Urdangarin's wife -- to be questioned in the case on February 23.
The palace has said it would keep Garcia in his post and would take no action until he goes before the judge.
Revenga will be questioned about his role at the Noos Institute and "his possible work as an advisor" to Urdangarin, the court source said.
The royal family has decided to sideline Urdangarin from all official royal activities, and last month he was removed from the family website.
Madrid's waxwork museum last year removed the duke's statue from its usual location among the rest of the Spanish royals to the sports hall.
Urdangarin won bronze medals in Spain's handball team at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics.
He retired from professional handball after marrying into the royal family and went into business.
The king is credited with guiding Spain to democracy following the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975 and is widely respected, but the affair has raised indignation as Spaniards suffer the effects of tough spending cuts and an unemployment rate of 26 percent.
A poll in early January by El Mundo newspaper showed that support for the monarchy as an institution overall fell to a record low of 54 percent.