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Pujol's former party CiU will also request his appearance before the Catalan Parliament

The former Catalan President Jordi Pujol, who confessed in late July that his family had committed fiscal fraud for years by having a hidden fortune in Andorra, will also be requested to provide further explanations before the Catalan Parliament by the coalition he founded and used to lead, the centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, which currently runs the Catalan Government. On Monday the CiU confirmed that they will vote on Tuesday for the parliamentary appearance request, joining the rest of Catalan parties. Pujol's fraud has shocked Catalan society and has been presented by Madrid-based forces as a fatal threat to the self-determination process. However, there are increasing amount of news pointing towards the theory that the Spanish authorities (Government, tax agency and public prosecutor) and the two main parties (PP and PSOE) knew about Pujol family's fraud for decades and covered it up in exchange for his opposition to independence. In fact, Pujol had always worked to better fit Catalonia within a more modern Spain and only embraced pro-independence stances two years ago.

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01 September 2014 09:45 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The former Catalan President Jordi Pujol, who confessed in late July that his family had committed fiscal fraud for years by having a hidden fortune in Andorra, will also be requested to provide further explanations before the Catalan Parliament by the coalition he founded and used to lead, the centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, which currently runs the Catalan Government. On Monday, he CiU confirmed that they will vote on Tuesday for the parliamentary appearance request, joining the rest of Catalan parties. The confessed fraud of the veteran Jordi Pujol, who chaired the Catalan Government for 23 consecutive years (1980-2003), has shocked Catalonia and has been presented by Madrid-based forces as a fatal threat to the self-determination process. However, there are increasing amount of news pointing towards the theory that the Spanish authorities (Government, tax agency and public prosecutor) and the two main parties (PP and PSOE) knew about Pujol family's fraud for decades and covered it up in exchange for his opposition to independence. This Monday, Barcelona-based newspaper 'Ara' published an investigation article stating that the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy and the governing People's Party (PP) already knew about Pujol's fraud at least since July 2010,  more than a year before they started running the Spanish Government. In fact, Pujol had always worked to better fit Catalonia within a more modern Spain and was an essential figure of the Spanish democratic transition. He only embraced pro-independence stances two years ago and his leadership in the 1980s and 1990s contributed to keeping pro-independence forces at a marginal level. The first news of Pujol's fraud appeared in the press in November 2012.


More judicial complaints against Pujol

On top of this, also this Monday, the extreme-right and xenophobic Catalan party PxC – which is not present in the Catalan Parliament but holds a small number of public offices in a few town halls, filed a judicial complaint against Pujol and his family for fiscal fraud and money laundering. In addition, it was also confirmed today that a group of left-wing parties and neighbourhood associations – including the Catalan Green Socialist ICV and the Spanish alternative left Podemos – will also file a complaint against the former Catalan President and his family for fiscal fraud and influence peddling. These two complaints, which were confirmed this Monday, are added to the one presented in August by the extreme-right and Spanish nationalist trade union Manos Limpias.

Pujol's case might affect the Spanish Government

Besides the increasing number of judicial complaints, the case has become increasingly complex. On one side there is an increasing amount of news and rumours indicating that he and his family could have allegedly committed further fiscal offenses, including running an organised network of influence peddling that might have turned the family into billionaires. These news and rumours will now have to be confirmed or rejected by the corresponding judicial investigations.  However, there are also political connotations. On one hand some say that the Catalan political and business establishment knew about the fraud and did not say anything as a way to cover up political parties' illegal funding and their news business opportunities. On the other, there are accusations that  the Spanish political establishment knew about the fraud and did not say anything as a way to protect Pujol in exchange of keeping the pro-independence movement under control by leading a majority pro-Catalan coalition opposing independence.

On Monday, the Barcelona-based newspaper 'Ara' published an investigation feature article suggesting that the second option is true (which does not mean the first one might not be true as well). According to 'Ara' ', Rajoy's current Chief of Cabinet, Jorge Moragas, is behind the illegal recording of the private conversation between the former girlfriend of Pujol's older son, Víctoria Álvarez, and the leader of the PP's Catalan branch, Alícia Sánchez Camacho, in a Barcelona restaurant in July 2010. In this conversation, which was recorded by the private espionage firm Método 3, Álvarez told Sánchez-Camacho about several of Pujol's oldest son's businesses, among other issues. This case of political espionage became a considerable scandal in Catalonia in 2013, although it was closed with a non-transparent deal between the Catalan PP leader and Método 3 in December 2013. Despite being formally requested to do so, Sánchez-Camacho ignored the petition to appear before the Catalan Parliament to explain the affair and the deal. According to Ara's news, the PP organised this illegal taping in 2010 to confirm some information about Pujol family's alleged fiscal offenses.

Therefore, according to this article, the Spanish PM and the PP knew about Pujol's offenses since July 2010 at the latest. In August 2014, the former Anti-Corruption Public Prosecutor, Carlos Jiménez Villarejo – who was elected member of the European parliament last May in the alternative left Podemos' list – stated that the directors of the Spanish Public Prosecutor's Office "under several Socialist governments" – which means González and Zapatero's governments – had told him not to investigate Pujol and his family. Furthermore, Manos Limpias also stated in August that the Spanish authorities knew about Pujol's fraud for decades and shut up.

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  • Two of CiU's leaders - Josep Rull (left) and Lluís Maria Corominas (right) - on Monday (by P. Mateos)

  • Two of CiU's leaders - Josep Rull (left) and Lluís Maria Corominas (right) - on Monday (by P. Mateos)