The son-in-law of Spanish King Juan Carlos, Iñaki Urdangarin, on Saturday told the judge investigating him for tax fraud and embezzlement that the royal household played no role in the activities carried out by his non-profit Noos Foundation.

The statement, to which Efe had access, was read to Examining Magistrate Jose Castro before Undangarin was questioned by the judge.

At the start of the court appearance by the royal son-in-law, a 45-year-old former Olympics handball player, some 300 people held an anti-monarchy demonstration outside the courthouse.

In his statement, Urdangarin said the royal family recommended he put a halt to his activities at Noos - referring to allegations he embezzled millions of euros after using his connections to obtain lucrative, no-bid public contracts for the foundation - because it considered them beneath his institutional status.

The husband of the Infanta Cristina, the king's youngest daughter, said he heeded that advice.

Urdangarin also referred to e-mails delivered recently to Judge Castro by his ex-business partner at Noos, Diego Torres - also implicated in the corruption case - in which he tried to link the royal family to the scandal.

"In that regard, I declare that the royal household did not offer opinions, advise, authorize or endorse the activities that I carried out at the Noos Foundation," Urdangarin said.

The investigating magistrate is probing the alleged diversion of public funds from the regional governments of the Balearic Islands and Valencia to the non-profit sports foundation headed by Urdangarin and Torres. EFE