Princess Cristina's

Princess Cristina's

08-02-2016EFE

The Nóos trial in Palma really starts in earnest on Tuesday. After a month devoted to preliminary issues and arguments presented by defence teams, the accused will start to take their turns in being questioned. During April all of the remaining seventeen on trial will have to answer questions, and defence strategies will begin to become clearer. (The number has been reduced by one, since the private prosecution against Miguel Tejeiro, the ex-secretary of the Instituto Nóos, was dropped last week.)

The first who will be obliged to testify is the former director-general of sport with the regional government, José Luis Ballester. He is the only one among the accused from whom the public prosecutor has received a qualified confession, and he is expected to repeat statements made regarding a meeting at the Marivent Palace in Palma between Princess Cristina's husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, and ex-president of the Balearics, Jaume Matas, at which agreements were made regarding sport forums to be organised by the Instituto Nóos. After Ballester will come the other one-time senior officials in the government and then Matas himself.

Princess Cristina herself will be in court throughout February. However, until there are declarations by her husband, by his former business partner, Diego Torres, by Torres's wife and by his brother-in-law she will barely be required to speak. The bulk of the court's considerations will centre on the activities of Nóos, and she will be the last one to declare, something that will occur around 26 February, which is when the main media interest can be anticipated.

Into March and the accused will be allowed to not have to attend court, and so it is likely that the princess will not be seen. Among witnesses who have been called are Rodrigo Rato, the one-time national government vice-premier and director of the IMF, Rita Barberá, who was mayor of the city of Valencia between 1991 and 2015, and Francisco Camps, for eight years the president of the regional government in Valencia and someone whose name features centrally in the long and ongoing corruption investigation known as the caso Gürtel. In addition to these will be members of the Royal Household, such as one-time adviser to Princess Cristina and Princess Elena, Carlos García Revenga, who was also the former treasurer of Nóos. It is possible that the number of witnesses will be reduced, as defence and prosecution make their positions clearer.

Tuesday will, therefore, be when all parties reconvene after learning about the first decisions taken by the judges who have been considering the various applications. Monday will be the final day for there to be possible agreements between defence and prosecution in respect of any of the accused, something complicated by the private prosecution of Manos Limpias (Clean Hands), who oppose any such agreements.

Of these agreements, it is understood that Matas's defence is offering a greatly reduced sentence in return for a confession to most of his alleged offences. Princess Cristina, meanwhile, has added to her team of lawyers and has protested that her rights to a fair trial are being violated.

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