• Germany edition
 
Princess pulls Spanish King into royal scandal
Photo: DPA

Princess pulls Spanish King into royal scandal

Published: 25 Feb 2013 13:45 GMT+01:00
Updated: 25 Feb 2013 13:45 GMT+01:00

A German aristocrat said on Monday she secured a job for Spanish King Juan Carlos' son-in-law, who is under investigation for allegedly embezzling million of euros of public money, at the request of the monarch.

Corinna Sayn-Wittgenstein, a German princess through a former marriage, said in an interview published in daily newspaper El Mundo that she found a job for Inaki Urdangarin in 2004 at the Laureus sports foundation but he ultimately turned it down.

"The king asked me to help Inaki find a suitable job at an internationally recognised organisation," said Sayn-Wittgenstein, whom Spanish media describe as a close friend of the king.

Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball champion who is married to the king's youngest daughter Cristina, is accused of leveraging his connections to gain inflated contracts to stage sports and tourism events from regional governments for the Noos Institute, a non-profit foundation he once managed.

Prosecutors suspect Urdangarin and his former business partner Diego Torres siphoned off millions of euros from these contracts and then redirected much of the money to offshore accounts and private businesses.

Urdangarin, 45, was jeered as he appeared at a court in Palma to be questioned for the second time by a judge investigating the corruption allegations. He and Torres have denied any wrongdoing and have not been charged with any crime.

Torres has provided the investigation judge with e-mails allegedly exchanged between Urdangarin and Sayn-Wittgenstein which appeared to indicate that the king backed and closely followed his son-in-law's business career.

Sayn-Wittgenstein, who runs a consulting firm, Appolonia Associates, told El Mundo that Urdangarin visited her London office in June 2004 to discuss a job at Laureus, which is best known for staging a yearly awards ceremony sponsored by luxury brands.

"His profile seemed perfect to work for Laureus. He was a real 'Golden Boy': an Olympic Athlete with two medals, at Atlanta and Sydney, and member of a European royal family through his marriage with Princess Cristina," she said.

But after several months Urdangarin, who comes from a wealthy Basque family and who acquired the title of Duke of Palma when he married Cristina in 1997, decided not to accept the job, she added.

"When he did not accept the offer from Laureus, I was very disappointed. And that put me in a very uncomfortable position with the Foundation," Sayn-Wittgenstein said.

"It was perfect given his position, but I think it was not enough for him. Laureus was not El Dorado," she added.

Laureus offered to pay Urdangarin a yearly salary of €200,000 but he felt the amount was not sufficient, El Mundo reported.

During his court appearance on Saturday, Urdangarin said the royal family did not advise or authorise the activities of the Noos Institute, which he ran from 2004 to 2006.

AFP/mb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

01:27 February 26, 2013 by blackboot11
Germany officially abolished its royalty in 1919... did she not get the memo?
Today's headlines
CDU candidate forced to remove Turkish logo
Yasar Calik. Photo: Facebook/Yasar Calik

CDU candidate forced to remove Turkish logo

A Christian Democrat (CDU) town council candidate has apologized and withdrawn campaign bags on which he had printed a new party logo where the Turkish crescent appeared inside the "C" for Christian. READ () »

Cheap flights get pricier as airlines expand
Lufthansa's daughter company Germanwings is one of the faster-growing budget airlines in Germany. Photo: DPA

Cheap flights get pricier as airlines expand

Budget airlines are expanding their range of routes from Germany but ticket prices are climbing along with them, a report from the German Aeronautics Centre (DLR) revealed on Thursday. READ () »

Ecclestone lawyers: Bribes never happened
Bernie Ecclestone with his lawyers in a Munich court on Thursday morning. Photo: DPA

Ecclestone lawyers: Bribes never happened

UPDATE: Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone went on trial in Germany on Thursday, denying charges of bribery that threaten to land the British billionaire in jail. READ () »

Minister praises Erasmus 'success story'
Photo: DPA

Minister praises Erasmus 'success story'

A revamped version of European student exchange programme Erasmus officially launched in Berlin on Thursday with Germany's education minister praising the scheme as a Europe-wide “success story”. READ () »

Turkey tourists lose call to prayer refund bid
Photo: DPA

Turkey tourists lose call to prayer refund bid

A German couple has lost their legal fight to get a refund for a Turkish holiday which they said was ruined by the calls to prayer from a nearby mosque. It is just one of a series of court claims by picky German tourists. READ () »

Germany halts arms sales to Russia
Russian troops surround a Ukrainian base in Crimea. Photo: DPA

Germany halts arms sales to Russia

Germany has stopped selling arms to Russia due to the current “political situation”, according to reports on Thursday. The sale of military equipment to Russia by German firms has been criticized by the country’s Nato allies. READ () »

Truck kills man lying in middle of road
Photo: DPA

Truck kills man lying in middle of road

Police were searching for witnesses on Wednesday morning following a mysterious road accident in which a 25-year-old man was killed as he lay in the middle of the road. READ () »

Where are Germany's smartest towns?
Germany's cleverest town. Photo: DPA

Where are Germany's smartest towns?

A brain training website released scores on Wednesday showing which German towns performed best and worst in a range of cognitive tests - with some surprising results. READ () »

April wraps up with stormy week ahead
Lightning over Lake Starnberg, in Bavaria. Photo: DPA

April wraps up with stormy week ahead

The end of April is looking stormy for Germany with hot and cold air mixing and making for wild spring weather over the coming few days, state forecasters DWD said on Wednesday. READ () »

Germany sold €40 million of arms to Russia
Russian troops pictured in March in Crimea. Photo: DPA

Germany sold €40 million of arms to Russia

Germany arms sales to Russia have come under fire following the crisis in Ukraine. In 2012 Germany sold €40 million worth of rifles, pistols and armoured vehicles to the country. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
National
Girls find live ammunition in Easter bonfire
Photo: Facebook/screenshot
Berlin
Germany's most viral advert for an apartment?
Gallery
11 things you need to know about German beer
Photo: DPA
Politics
Interview with AfD - 'If Britain goes, Europe is lost'
Photo: DPA
National
Police damage own water cannon with eggs
Photo: DPA
National
Let us start work later after World Cup nights, unions says
Photo: DPA
Society
Crystal meth use hits record level
Photo: DPA
Rhineland
Elderly man taped €200,000 to his genitals
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
What's the unemployment rate in your area of Germany?
Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt
Gallery
World War I in colour photos
Photo: DPA
Society
JobTalk: Why you should teach English in Germany
Photo: DPA
National
330,000 sign up against TV licence fee
Advertisement:
Photo: Submitted
Frankfurt
'I'll get even with my old pal Schwarzenegger'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten great inventions you (probably) didn't know were German
Photo: J. Arthur White
Berlin
Clashes in Berlin as refugees tear down their own camp
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The 10 best German employers to work for
CurrencyFair
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Mr. Lodge
Sponsored Article
How to find a furnished rental in Munich
Sponsored Article
How to make a lasting impression in business
Hult International Business School
Sponsored Article
What they don't teach you at Business School
Photo: DPA
Society
Nine jobs you can only do in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,077
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd