Life at № 42 by E.M. Coutinho
Yesterday El Pais live streamed the pre-trial motions in the Noos case and I watched most of it. I’m not sure why I find it so interesting, I suppose it just represents a very troubling picture of Spain- and society.
The BBC summarized the case quite well: “…Mr Urdangarin’s supposedly non-profit Noos Institute sports foundation was allegedly used as a vehicle to win falsely inflated contracts from regional government bodies, before channelling the money to personal accounts via tax havens.
Noos is alleged to have received more than €6m (£4.4m; $6.5m) of public money, most of it from the Balearic Islands and Valencia regional governments.
… Princess Cristina was a board member at the foundation and, with Mr Urdangarin, co-owned a real estate company called Aizoon, which prosecutors say was used to launder embezzled funds.
One of the allegations against the princess is that she made personal use of Aizoon funds for paying for clothes and dance lessons for the couple’s children as well as work on the couple’s Barcelona mansion.”
When they say work on the couple’s mansion, they mean transforming the Pedralbes house from this:
So we’re not talking about changing the curtains or some new cushions for the terrace furniture.
Anyway, Princess Cristina is going with the Blue Jasmine defence as used by Mrs. Madoff: I knew nothing of my husband’s dealings. Keep in mind she studied political science, got an MA in International Relations and worked at UNESCO. Yet she didn’t ask, at any moment, where the money came from to buy and reform her primary residence, the Pedralbes house. And it never occurred to her that paying for bills with her non-profit’s checkbook wasn’t entirely above board.
I find the whole thing mystifying. Why would people who already had quite comfortable lives embark on something like this to have slightly more comfortable lives? It’s absurd.