3rd March 2017
As global authorities continue to clampdown on fraudulent behaviour, no one is safe from scrutiny, as the conclusion of a seven year Spanish tax trial demonstrates.
A high profile Spanish tax trial
In a rather public case, the 51 year old sister of King Felipe and sixth in line to the throne, Princess Cristina, and her husband have been subject to investigations of tax fraud which began in 2010. While the princess was absolved of being an accessory to evasion as the case concluded in late February, she still faces a fine of €265,000 (£227,000) as, in her position, she has a civil responsibility for benefiting from illegal gains, even if she wasn’t actively aware of it.
Her husband Inaki Urdangarin, on the other hand, came off much worse. It was alleged that he used a not-for-profit sports foundation he ran as a platform to win falsely inflated contracts from government bodies before moving the money into personal accounts. Through these actions, Urdangarin was able to access more than €6 million of public money.
Given the severity of these reports, it’s perhaps no surprise that having been found guilty of fraud, the former Duke was given a jail term in excess of six years by the court in Majorca.
Severing family ties
Despite denying any knowledge of her husband’s wrong-doing, Princess Cristina – who was the first member of the Spanish royal family to face trial since 1975 – was stripped of her title as Duchess of Palma de Mallorca by King Felipe in 2015. Urdangarin also suffered a similar fate at the hands of his brother-in-law.
For contractors working across borders and the agencies that manage them, this case should certainly serve as a warning. Very few of us are likely to have access to the legal resources that a member of the Spanish royal family may have to get them out of trouble and if those with this capacity are still facing criminal charges, there can be no doubt that others will too.
And it’s clear that, for recruiters in particular, denying knowledge of another individual’s wrong doing isn’t a way of getting around charges. So if you want to avoid a possible jail term or potentially hefty fines as a result of tax fraud, speak to an expert team today.