Spain's Princess Cristina and her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, have relocated from the United States to Barcelona for the duration of the corruption case involving the royal son-in-law.

In a communique submitted on Tuesday to Efe from Barcelona, where the couple and their children have already returned to take up residence, Urdangarin said that he had decided to ask for a "temporary leave of absence" from his executive position with Spanish telecom giant Telefonica.

The 44-year-old Urdangarin, who holds the title of Duke of Palma, said he took the leave of absence to shield Telefonica from any possible negative effects of the corruption case.

He said he fully intends to resume working with Telefonica "in the future" and added that he had informed King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of these decisions.

Telefonica last month had renewed its contract with Urdangarin, who is paid 1.5 million euros ($1.88 million) a year to represent the firm in the United States.

Urdangarin faces charges in connection with his tenure at the non-profit Instituto Noos.

Prosecutors accuse Urdangarin and Diego Torres, who succeeded the duke as president of the foundation, of establishing a web of shell corporations to facilitate the diversion of nearly 6 million euros (almost $8 million) in public money that Instituto Noos received from the Balearic Islands and Valencia regional governments.

Urdangarin, a veteran of the Spanish Olympic handball team, wed Princess Cristina in October 1997. The couple has four children.

The family moved to Washington in 2009 when the duke took the position with Telefonica. EFE