Iñaki Urdangarin

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This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Urdangarin and the second or maternal family name is Liebaert.
Iñaki Urdangarin
Iñaki Urdangarín.jpg
Iñaki Urdangarin
Born (1968-01-15) 15 January 1968 (age 47)
Zumárraga, Basque Country, Spain
Spouse Infanta Cristina Federica of Spain (m. 1997)
Issue Juan Urdangarin y de Borbón
Pablo Urdangarin y de Borbón
Miguel Urdangarin y de Borbón
Irene Urdangarin y de Borbón
Full name
The Most Excellent Don Iñaki Urdangarin Liebaert
Father Don Juan María Urdangarin Berriochoa
Mother Mme. Claire Liebaert Courtain
Olympic medal record
Men’s handball
Bronze medal – third place 1996 Atlanta Team Competition
Bronze medal – third place 2000 Sydney Team Competition

Iñaki Urdangarin y Liebaert[1] (born 15 January 1968), is a retired handball player. He is the husband of the Infanta Cristina, the second child of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía of Spain.

Personal life[edit]

Urdangarin is the son of Juan María Urdangarin Berriochoa (b. Zumárraga, 19 September 1932 - d. Vitoria-Gasteiz, 10 May 2012) and wife Claire Françoise Liebaert Courtain (b. Antwerp, 16 July 1935), of Spanish Basque and Belgian (both Walloon and Flemish) descent respectively. He has six siblings. His paternal grandparents Laureano de Urdangarin y Larrañaga (1898–1982) and wife Ana de Berriochoa y Elgarresta (1902–1996) came from Basque minor nobility.[citation needed]

Sports career[edit]

At the age of 18, Urdangarin became a professional handball player with FC Barcelona Handbol, where he remained until his retirement in 2000. Meanwhile, he studied at the Escuela Superior de Administración y Dirección de Empresas (ESADE) in Barcelona, from which he received a master's degree in business administration.

As a member of the Spanish handball team, he participated in the 1992, 1996, and 2000 Summer Olympics, serving as team captain in 2000. The team won the bronze medal in 1996 and 2000.

Marriage and children[edit]

It was at the 1996 games in Atlanta that he met the Infanta Cristina, whom he married in Barcelona on 4 October 1997. Upon his marriage, Urdangarin became jure uxoris The Most Excellent The Duke of Palma de Mallorca (Spanish: Excelentísimo Señor El Duque de Palma de Mallorca). The couple have four children, all born in Barcelona, and all of whom are entitled to the style Excellency:

They lived in Barcelona until 2009, where Urdangarin was director of planning and development for Motorpress Ibérica and a founding partner of Nóos Consultoría Estratégica. From 2009-2011, the Royal couple and their family lived in Washington, D.C., where he worked for Telefónica, before returning to Barcelona. In August 2013, Infanta Christina moved with her four children to Geneva, Switzerland, to take a job with the Caixa Foundation, while her husband, the subject of an embezzlement investigation, remained in Barcelona.[2]

Urdangarin has been a member of the Spanish Olympic Committee since 4 April 2001, and was elected first deputy chairman on 16 February 2004. In 2001, he received the Grand Cross of the Spanish Royal Order of Sports Merit (Real Orden del Mérito Deportivo).[3]

Alleged corruption and money laundering scandal[edit]

See also: Nóos case

In November 2011, Urdangarin was accused of diverting public funds for his own profit through the Nóos institute in the 'Palma Arena' case.[4] Searches were conducted at the Nóos institute by the Spanish Anticorruption bureau.[5] The daily El País has released a suspicious budget document for one international event that was organized by the aforementioned institute which was managed by Urdangarin at that time.[6] It is believed that he persuaded various Spanish public administrations (mostly regional governments) to sign agreements with his company, the Nóos Institute (which was supposed to be a non-profit organization) for both work that was never done and work that was dramatically overbudgeted up to €5,800,000 from public Administrations.[7]

In December 2011, the Anticorruption Bureau confirmed that Urdangarin had been sending substantial sums of public money to accounts in Belize and the United Kingdom. That same month, the Royal Household of Spain announced that Urdangarin would not participate in any official Royal Family activity for the foreseeable future, as a result of the Instituto Nóos scandal.

In the King's Christmas speech on 24 December 2011, King Juan Carlos stated that "La justicia es igual para todos" ("Justice is the same for everyone"); the following day he clarified that he was speaking generally.[8]

On 6 February 2012, Urdangarin appeared before a judge regarding allegations of corruption.[9] He is being investigated, with 14 others, including Jaume Matas, former premier of the Balearics.[10][11] He appeared again on 25 February 2012 in Mallorca to answer questions before the investigating judge, José Castro.

On January 26, 2013 the Spanish royal household removed the section covering Iñaki Urdangarin from its official website.

Since June 12, 2015 he is no longer referred to as the Duke of Palma de Mallorca following the removal of that title from his wife the Infanta Cristina.

Titles, styles, honours and arms[edit]


  • 15 January 1968 – 4 October 1997: Don Iñaki Urdangarin Liebaert
  • 4 October 1997 – 12 June 2015: His Excellency The Duke of Palma de Mallorca, Grandee of Spain
  • 12 June 2015 – present: His Excellency Don Iñaki Urdangarin Liebaert[12]

Despite the revocation of his wife's Ducal title, Inaki Urdangarin retains the honorific style of "Excellency", as both a Spanish Grandee (as he remains the husband of an Infanta), and also as a Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Sports Merit in his own right.[13]

In view of contradictory Spanish legislation, enacted over the past 30 years, Urdangarin was not entitled to use the ducal title of his wife [14] (Royal Decree 1368/1987, Transitory Provisions, Third).[15] But by centuries-old social convention in Spain, he was considered a duke.[16] As such, by the same social convention he was styled as "His Excellency", but as a Grand Cross he is also officially addressed with this style.[17]


See also List of honours of the Spanish Royal Family by country


Arms of Iñaki Urdangarin
Coat of arms of Iñaki Urdangarín.svg
Iñaki Urdangarin personal coat of arms.
Issuant from a torse Argent, Or and Gules, a plume of three ostrich feathers two Argent and Gules;
Mantling Argent and Gules.
A field of silver, displaying a tree of vert and at its trunk booted a wolf passant of sable, surrounded by a bordure of gules, charged with eight saltires of gold.
The ribbon of the Grand Cross of the Spanish Royal Order of the Sports Merit (Real Orden del Mérito Deportivo).
Coat of arms of Garai
The coat of arms is that of the anteiglesia of Garai, Biscay, coinciding with that of the Lordship of Biscay, i.e., that of the Count of Haro.[21]
Previous versions
Coat of arms of Iñaki Urdangarín (1997-2015).svg From 1997 to 2015


  1. ^ Blog Con propósito de enmienda, about the proper way to his name, which only can be written with accent in Spanish. In the original Basque language is written without accent. (Spanish)
  2. ^ Marlene Eilers Koenig. "Royal Musings". royalmusingsblogspotcom.blogspot.ch. 
  3. ^ (Spanish) Royal Decree 1369/2001 The Duke of Palma member of the Royal Order of the Sports Merit.).
  4. ^ (Spanish) Iñaki Urdangarin is involved in the 'Palma Arena' case
  5. ^ (Spanish) Anticorrupción registra la fundación de Iñaki Urdangarin
  6. ^ (Spanish) http://politica.elpais.com/politica/2011/11/09/actualidad/1320868088_382205.html
  7. ^ (Spanish) Los gestores de Nóos facturaron al Instituto 1.700.000 euros cuando ya no funcionaba
  8. ^ The Big Picture, boston.com, January 2009; accessed 19 June 2014.
  9. ^ Spanish duke Inaki Urdangarin to appear before judge, bbc.co.uk; accessed 19 June 2014.
  10. ^ Mallet, Victor (December 29, 2011). "Spanish duke faces corruption charges". Financial Times. 
  11. ^ (Spanish) [1]
  12. ^ (Spanish) The King revokes the title of Duchess of Palma use by his sister doña Cristina, Europapress (15-06-11) (Acceded on 12 June 2015)
  13. ^ ABC.es Royal decree http://www.abc.es/casa-del-rey/rey-felipe-vi/20150612/abci-recoge-revocacion-titulo-duquesa-201506120740.html
  14. ^ "Urdangarin, Ni Duque Ni De Palma". Diario Público (Madrid). January 31, 2013. Archived from the original on February 3, 2013. Retrieved January 31, 2013. The Infanta Cristina is the Duchess, but he only consort so, under the law, the king can not take a title where there was none 
  15. ^ The Crown - Official site of the Royal Household of HM the King
  16. ^ Matthew Hovious. "In Re Genealogica: Duchy Original: The Palma Title At Home and Abroad". matthewhovious.blogspot.com. 
  17. ^ (Spanish) Ordenanzas de la Real Orden del Mérito Deportivo, Art. 19 Real Decreto 1523/1982 - official website of the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport
  18. ^ (Spanish) Royal Decree 1369/2001 The Duke of Palma member of the Royal Order of the Sports Merit.).
  19. ^ "Consulta de información de bomec". mec.es. 
  20. ^ Foro Dinastías, State visit of Luxembourg in Spain, 2001, Group Photo
  21. ^ A cuerpo de rey: Monarquía accidental y melancolía republicana, pages 163-164, Jon Juaristi, Ariel, 2014. ISBN 978-84-344-1899-8.