Court orders Spain king’s brother-in-law to jail in five days

Former Olympic handball player and husband of Spain’s Princess Cristina, Inaki Urdangarin leaves the courthouse in Palma de Mallorca, on the Spanish Balearic Island of Mallorca on June 13, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 13 June 2018
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Court orders Spain king’s brother-in-law to jail in five days

  • Husband of Princess Christina has been sentenced to five years and 10 months in jail
  • The graft case tainted the royal family’s image

PALMA: A Spanish court has given the king’s brother-in-law, Inaki Urdangarin, five days to report to jail after he lost his appeal against a graft conviction and prison sentence, a judicial source said Wednesday.
The former Olympic handball player and husband of Princess Christina has been sentenced to five years and 10 months in jail in a case which caused uproar in Spain and tainted the royal family’s image.
The 50-year-old had been found guilty last year of embezzling millions of euros (dollars) between 2004 and 2006 from a non-profit foundation he headed on the island of Majorca.
On Wednesday, Urdangarin flew from Switzerland where he lives in exile with his family to Majorca to appear in court.
At the Palma courthouse he was met by a horde of journalists and some people who shouted “thief” at him, an AFP photographer reported.
Urdangarin will now be jailed in the next few days unless he makes a successful final appeal to the Constitutional Court — a possibility regarded as unlikely.
The graft case sparked outrage during Spain’s financial crisis when Urdangarin came to be seen as a symbol of the elite’s perceived corruption.
The scandal contributed to the decision of King Felipe VI’s father Juan Carlos I to abdicate in 2014.


Duterte skips summit meetings but is in ‘top shape’

Updated 14 November 2018
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Duterte skips summit meetings but is in ‘top shape’

  • An official named four scheduled events that Duterte had not attended on Wednesday, during which the president “took power naps” to catch up on sleep
  • Duterte’s health has been a constant source of speculation since he disappeared from public view for a week last year

SINGAPORE: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte skipped several meetings at an Asia-Pacific summit in Singapore on Wednesday, prompting the 73-year-old’s office to issue a statement scotching speculation that it was due to ill health.
“We assure the nation that his aforementioned absence has nothing to do with his physical health and wellbeing which have been the subject of speculation,” spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
“The president’s constantly punishing work schedule is proof that he is in top physical shape.”
Panelo named four scheduled events that Duterte had not attended on Wednesday, during which the president “took power naps” to catch up on sleep, and said he would also skip a gala dinner with the leaders of nine Southeast Asian nations, US Vice President Mike Pence and several others.
Duterte’s health has been a constant source of speculation since he disappeared from public view for a week last year, and he has said openly that he is tired and would like to step down before the end of his term ends in 2022.
Last month Duterte’s office revealed that he had undergone a colonoscopy and he told reporters that a biopsy had shown he did not have cancer.
The constitution provides for the public to be told of the state of health of an incumbent president, if serious.
If a sitting president dies, is permanently disabled or removed through impeachment, the vice president succeeds to serve the remaining years in a six-year, single term.
Vice President Leni Robredo, a leader of the opposition, was elected separately in 2016. Speculation about Duterte’s health last month prompted concern that the Philippines could be headed for uncertainty given the highly polarized political climate.
Duterte has cited Robredo’s “incompetence” as a reason for his inability to quit as president.
Duterte has a record of skipping summit sessions, though he did not miss any as host when the Philippines held the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) last year.
Panelo said it was “amusing that some quarters are making a big fuss” of Duterte’s absences, noting that he had attended ASEAN meetings with leaders from China, Japan and Russia.
“Last night, the president worked late and had only less than three hours of sleep,” he said. “It is unfortunate that the first event scheduled today was at 8:30a.m.”
Duterte is known for having an unorthodox working schedule that typically starts mid-afternoon and includes cabinet meetings that can go on beyond midnight.