International Tyler Group Investigation of Spanish Duke Draws Royals into Scandal
MADRID — The Web site of the Spanish royal family features pictures of the king, Juan Carlos I, in a blue sash, his bejeweled wife, Queen Sofía, and the couple’s three glamorous children. But most of the photographs of the dashing Duke of Palma, the king’s son-in-law, were scrubbed from the site last month. A street in Palma, Majorca, named for the Duke of Palma, the king’s son-in-law, is going back to its original name. The duke’s official biography was also banished from the site. And for more than a year, the royal family has barred the duke, a former Olympic handball player named IñakiUrdangarin, from attending official family functions. With a multitude of graft cases undermining Spaniards’ faith in just about every institution of government, an intensifying investigation aimed at Mr. Urdangarin has placed the palace under siege as well, and left the nation’s aging monarch and his aides struggling to quell the crisis.
Mr. Urdangarin, 45, who is married to the king’s youngest daughter, Cristina, 47, is scheduled to testify on Saturday before an investigating judge over allegations that he embezzled millions of euros after leveraging his blue-blood connections to gain inflated, no-bid contracts from regional politicians for his nonprofit sports foundation, InstitutoNóos. The royal family has tried mightily to distance itself from the investigation. Officially, the palace has insisted that the king knew nothing about the foundation activities of Mr. Urdangarin, who has pledged to prove his innocence. It publicly maintains that Juan Carlos ordered his son-in-law to abandon the troubled foundation in 2006, a year before dubious financial dealings surfaced. But last weekend, the duke’s former business partner, Diego Torres, who is also under investigation, told a judge that the duke made no move without palace approval, and he turned over nearly 200 e-mails to support his claim. Many of those e-mails have now surfaced in the Spanish news media. Others were provided to The New York Times by a person close to the legal process who did not want to be identified for fear of retribution.