The Catalan Justice Minister is indicted as witness regarding an influence peddling case
Following a petition by the Spanish Public Prosecutor Office, the judge has called Germà Gordó, the Catalan Minister of Justice, to testify as witness in the alleged influence peddling case of the allocation of licenses to technical vehicle inspection garages. This case affects the ‘Number 3’ of the governing Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), Oriol Pujol, since the Supreme Court of Catalonia (TSJ) suspects he could have participated in irregular allocation of these licenses. At the time the alleged incidents happened, Gordó was not the Justice Minister but the Secretary of the Catalan Government, a key position overseeing all the daily decisions of the Executive. The TSJ wants to hear Gordó’s version of the tender procedure. Besides, Pujol’s defence has called the former Catalan Business Minister as a witness, since his department was running the tender.
Barcelona (ACN).- Following a petition by the Spanish Public Prosecutor Office issued on Tuesday, today the judge called the Catalan Minister of Justice, Germà Gordó, to testify as a witness in the influence peddling case of the alleged irregular allocation of licenses to technical vehicle inspection garages. This case affects the \u2018Number 3\u2019 of the governing Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), Oriol Pujol, since the Supreme Court of Catalonia (TSJ) suspects he could have participated in this irregular allocation of licenses. Besides Gordó, the judge also asked 9 other people to testify in the case. At the time the alleged incidents happened, Gordó was not the Justice Minister but the Secretary of the Catalan Government, a key position overseeing all the daily decisions of the Executive. The Public Prosecutor believes Gordó should have been aware of the tender and might have relevant information on this issue. The TSJ wants to hear his version of the tender procedure only as a witness, since Gordó is not being accused of any irregular activity. The Catalan Justice Minister will testify in front of the TSJ in September. Pujol\u2019s defence has called the former Catalan Business Minister, Francesc-Xavier Mena, as a witness, since the department he managed was running the tender. The indictment of Oriol Pujol was a political earthquake in Catalonia because he is one of the main leaders of the governing party and political force leading the Catalan self-determination process. In addition he is the son of the former President of the Catalan Government and historical leader of Catalan nationalism, Jordi Pujol. Oriol Pujol is fully denying the accusations and has temporarily stepped down from his front-line political responsibilities.
After the summer, the Catalan Justice Minister, Germà Gordó, and the former Catalan Business Minister, Francesc Xavier Mena, will testify before the Catalan Supreme Court as witnesses regarding the process known as the \u2018ITV case\u2019 (for the Technical Vehicle Inspection garages). Gordó is being called by the Spanish Public Prosecutor Office since he was the Secretary of Catalan Government at the time the incidents allegedly happened. Mena was called by the defence of Oriol Pujol, CiU\u2019s \u2018Number 3\u2019. At the time, Mena was the Catalan Business Minister, whose department was running the public tender of the ITV garages. The judge also asked for 9 other people to testify, including two lawyers and a high-ranking official in the Catalan Business Ministry, businessmen and local politicians. On top of this, the judge asked for many documents from the Catalan Business Ministry and the Spanish Customs Surveillance Service. One of the documents asked for lists the rules in place in 2010 for approving new ITV garages.
The ITV case
The current investigation derives from the case known as \u2018Campeón\u2019, which is centred in Galicia. The name of the former Spanish Transport Minister and former \u2018Number 2\u2019 of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), José Blanco, is related to the \u2018Campeón\u2019 case and is currently under investigation by the justice system. The Catalan branch of the case appeared in the press a year ago when five notorious people were arrested, two politicians and three businessmen: the \u2018Number 2\u2019 of Barcelona\u2019s Provincial Council, Josep Tous; the Catalan Government\u2019s Deputy Director of Industrial Safety, Isidre Masalles; the former General Director of Menta ITV, Ricard Puignou; the former CEO of Applus, Sergi Pastor; and Sergi Alsina, a partner in Alta Partners.
According to the indictment document issued in March, Oriol Pujol allegedly used his political influence and contacts to have Tous and Masalles appointed in key public positions deciding on the allocation of ITV licenses. The TSJ believes that Tous could have also been working for Alsina and Puignou at the time. In addition, the court stated that it suspected Pujol of having pushed for the approval of a new territorial plan for ITV garages, favouring the private interests of Alsina and Puignou.
Pujol fully denied all the accusations and in response, he stepped down and \u201Cdelegated\u201D his party and parliamentary roles as Secretary General of the CDC \u2013 the Liberal and largest force within the two-party coalition CiU \u2013 and as Chairman of the CiU group in the Catalan Parliament.