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Spanish Princess' Court Hearing Delayed By Judge

By HAROLD HECKLE

MADRID (AP) â¿¿ A judge investigating suspected fraud who had subpoenaed the Spanish king's daughter postponed her testimony after prosecutors appealed the subpoena on Friday.

Princess Cristina had been ordered to testify April 27 at a court on the island of Mallorca by Judge Jose Castro.

Castro delayed the hearing after prosecutors argued there is insufficient evidence of her involvement in an alleged plot to embezzle public money. He did not set a new hearing date.

The court summons is a first for a member of the king's immediate family.

The investigation centers on whether the 47-year-old princess' husband, Inaki Urdangarin, and his former business partner took advantage of their royal connections to funnel about 5 million euros ($6.4 million) in public funds via the nonprofit Noos Institute they ran into private businesses they also controlled.

A panel of judges of the provincial court of the Balearic Islands, where the case is being investigated, must now rule on the appeal. The process could take weeks.

Should the appeal be turned down, the princess will be defended by Miquel Roca, a prominent lawyer and former Catalan politician. Roca, 72, was one of seven "fathers" (writers) of the Spanish Constitution, in force since 1978, and member of Parliament for almost 20 years.

Castro said in court documents on Wednesday that the princess was a board member on two of her husband's companies and there was evidence she was aware that he had used her royal status and connections in making deals.

He said both Urdangarin and the princess had benefited equally from those deals and that the princess could be considered an accomplice.

Urdangarin, 45, has already been questioned twice by Castro since the probe began two years ago.

Castro argued that the princess had to be questioned for his investigation to be complete and also to show that justice treats everyone equally.

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