King Felipe’s brother-in-law Iñaki Urdangarín is now in prison, having arrived at the Brieva complex in Ávila this morning (Monday) directly from Geneva, Switzerland, where his family now lives.
He will be in Brieva, around 10 kilometres from Ávila city, for the next five days at least in the arrivals block until the governors decide whether the venue is suitable for him to serve his five-year, 10-month sentence, based upon his personal profile.
It is likely that if he remains in Brieva, Urdangarín will be alone in a cell block where he has no contact with any other inmates.
The three men found guilty in the Nóos Institute public fund embezzlement and money-laundering case – Urdangarín, his business partner Diego Torres and former Balearic regional president Jaume Matas – were told they could choose their prison if they handed themselves in voluntarily within five days of being sentenced.
Matas, jailed for three years and eight months, went to the prison in Aranjuez, Madrid on the same day, and Torres, sentenced to five years and eight months, is said to be going to Can Brians 2 prison in Sant Esteve Sesrovires (Barcelona province).
Torres is said to be planning to apply for a formal pardon and for his entry into prison to be put off until this is decided.
A pardon looks unlikely, since they tend to be granted only in cases of social interest – such as for drug-related crimes where the accused has been successfully treated, is clean and has created a new life in the years before his or her trial, or in the case of thieves who stole purely out of necessity, such as a 21-year-old woman who spent €200 on food and nappies on a credit card she found but had paid off most of her €900 fine and was halfway through her community service when, seven years later, she was ordered to go to jail.
As for Urdangarín, whose fraudulent dealings came to light in early 2011, his family will continue to live in Geneva, where they have all been based since 2013.
His wife, the Infanta Cristina, applied for a transfer to the Swiss branch of the Caixa bank’s cultural and social foundation where she had worked for over 20 years, both in Barcelona and Miami, in order to keep the couple and their children out of the spotlight.
She will now travel to Spain every week, combining prison visits with trips to the Caixa Foundation’s head office in Spain, which she has had to go to regularly over the last five years.
Speculation that the Infanta planned to move to Lisbon has proven unfounded, especially as the children are settled in their school, L’École Internationale de Genève (ECOLINT).
Urdangarín will not be allowed any prison leave until he has served at least a quarter of his sentence or 17 months, but like many others jailed for non-violent crimes, he is likely to eventually be given what is referred to in Spain as the ‘third degree’, where he only spends nights or weekends in jail.
He will only be able to speak to his wife via a telephone behind a screen for an hour and a half at weekends, and a face-to-face visit for two hours once a month, with a maximum of four relatives, including the Infanta, allowed to see him at a time.
The Infanta’s dilemma now sees her struggling between not wanting her children to enter a prison, especially due to the likely media attention, but not wanting to deprive them of their father or Urdangarín of his kids.
Cristina, who was stripped of her Duchess of Palma title by her own brother due to her own tax evasion charges in connection with the case, reportedly broke down when her husband’s sentence was announced.
Sources close to the King’s youngest sister said she is ‘distraught’ but ‘showing the same strength’ as she has throughout the last seven-and-a-half years of the process.
She has received counselling to help with her ‘moments of sadness and anger’, but has not been diagnosed with depression at any point, the sources claim.