Princess Cristina – daughter of King Juan Carlos of Spain and the seventh in line to the Spanish throne – has been named a suspect in a corruption case for which her husband is standing trial.
The judge of the case said that there is evidence that the Princess cooperated with her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, who is accused of siphoning off around six million euros in public funds as well as tax fraud through a charitable organisation he was involved in.
At the same time, the Spanish national government is still marred in rumours of envelopes of black money paid to the political establishment. The so-called ‘Caso Bárcenas’ continues and is investigated along with another big political corruption case – the ‘Caso Gürtel’. The governing Partido Popular denies any illegal activity but acknowledges that their funding system needs to become more transparent.
At the other end of the country in Catalonia, the director of a large detective agency was recently arrested as part of a police investigation into the espionage of political parties and business people in a region that seeks the right to vote on independence. It is still unclear to the public who was spying on who, but it seems like the detective agency had many different clients and had plenty of jobs to do.
It sounds like a mad political thriller. But sadly it is every-day news in the Spanish dailies. Depressing for a people that is struggling to overcome their daily economic woes.
Corruption cases have shaken virtually every public institution in Spain and, at a more local level, politicians and other prominent people allegedly been whitewashing money for their own benefit and in a few cases also for foreign mafias.
The economic crisis seems to have had an effect on the boom of corruption scandals. There is no longer money enough for everyone and that makes resentful people spit out the truth about the not-always-so-legitimate party that went on before the financial crisis struck in 2008.
Corruption is not part of everyday life for the citizens in Spain, but it has a big and indirect affect on the citizens and the society as a whole. Corruption has, on the other hand, been a great part of Spain’s hard-hit construction sector and therefore also an important factor in the bidding of public works and at the different levels of public institutions.
It is great that all these scandals are coming out now, it might clean up the system a bit and hopefully make the Spanish citizens demand more and much needed transparency in their democracy. But there is also the danger is that each case fades down with the coming of the next one and that the clean up of Spain’s corrupt politicians will only ever be a scratch on the surface.