Both Princess Cristina and Iñaki Urdangarin potentially face prison sentences. | Cati Cladera - Efe


This has been a year of major corruption trials. The most celebrated was that involving Princess Cristina. A member of the royal family stood trial for the first time. She faced prosecution not from the state but from the so-called union Manos Limpias for tax offences related to businesses operated by her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin. Manos Limpias called for an eight-year sentence.

The Nóos trial began on 11 January, but it was 3 March when it came to the turn of the princess to answer questions. She declined, as was her right, to respond to questions from the Manos Limpias lawyer, only answering those of her own lawyer. She appeared for just over an hour and stated that she had trust in her husband. She believed he was innocent; he faces a prosecutor demand of nineteen and a half years in prison.

The judges' decisions and sentencing are being delayed until March because the presiding judge is involved in other cases.

In October, the first of the major trials related to the "caso Gürtel" started. Among its main protagonists was the former treasurer of the Partido Popular, Luis Bárcenas. The case finally came to court after almost seven years of investigation. Another appearing was Francisco Correa, the businessman considered to be the head of a network of political favours. His name - Correa - means belt; Gürtel is the German for belt.

Having spent four years in preventive custody and having refused to previously testify, Correa took responsibility for all that had happened with his companies. He acknowledged having given money and gifts to former members of the PP in exchange for contracts. It was believed that he had reached an accord with the prosecution service. Judgement is expected some time after the Christmas/New Year holidays.

Another major case was the one of the "black cards", credit cards issued by the Caja Madrid and used for all sorts of things - lavish meals, holidays - by executives and board members. Over 15 million euros were spent from a bank fund but didn't show up in any bank documents or contracts. One of the main characters in this trial was Rodrigo Rato, former deputy prime minister, ex-managing director of the IMF and one-time president of Caja Madrid and Bankia.