Spain P.M. stresses respect for courts in case involving princess

Madrid, Apr 4 (EFE).- Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Thursday expressed his respect for all the judicial decisions connected with the naming of Princess Cristina, youngest daughter of King Juan Carlos, as a suspect in a corruption case.

At the same time, the premier also emphasized that he equally respects the presumption of innocence.

Rajoy addressed Princess Cristina's situation during a joint press conference with visiting U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

When asked if his administration is concerned by the judge's decision to name the princess as a suspect, Rajoy said that this is not problem of mood but rather of respect for all the decisions that the judiciary may make.

"We will always respect (them), as we respect the principle of presumption of innocence," the prime minister reiterated.

Rajoy was also asked about the possibility that his government may be considering measures to improve the image of the monarchy, such as including the Royal Palace in the transparency law, calling on Cristina to renounce her position in the line of royal succession or undertaking to implement the regulation regarding the abdication of the king, to which he responded that "none of that is being considered."

Investigating magistrate Jose Castro on Wednesday ordered Cristina to appear before him on April 27 to give a statement.

The judge is investigating allegations that Cristina's husband, IƱaki Urdangarin, embezzled more than 6 million euros ($7.7 million) after using his connections to obtain lucrative, no-bid public contracts for the Noos Institute, a non-profit foundation he headed for several years.

Following Castro's ruling, the office of the anti-corruption prosecutor said it would appeal, insisting it found no evidence that the princess had any connection to the Noos case.

Statements given by Urdangarin's former business partner, e-mails and testimony from a royal secretary raise doubts about whether the 47-year-old Princess Cristina was unaware of her husband's activities at Noos, the judge said.

Through a spokesman, the royal household expressed surprise Wednesday over the judge's "change of position" in regard to designating Cristina as a suspect and said it was "absolutely" in accord with prosecutors' decision to challenge Castro's decision.

Urdangarin, a 45-year-old former Olympic handball player, has been under investigation as a suspect since December 2011.

He told the court on Feb. 23 that the royal household played no role in the activities of Noos.