No pardon for Fèlix Millet, jailed mastermind of corruption scandal that shook Catalonia

Former president of Palau de la Música was sentenced to 9 years and 8 months for embezzling 23 million euros

Fèlix Millet and Jordi Montull in the Barcelona courtroom on February 5, 2018 (by Pol Solà)
Fèlix Millet and Jordi Montull in the Barcelona courtroom on February 5, 2018 (by Pol Solà) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

January 24, 2022 09:39 AM

Spain’s government rejected pardoning the former president of Barcelona’s Palau de la Música concert hall, Fèlix Millet, well-known for being the mastermind behind one of the biggest corruption scandals in Catalonia.

The pardon, for him and the former treasurer of the institution, Jordi Montull, was rejected by the Council of Ministers on December 28, 2021 as the Spanish newspaper reported on Sunday.

The reasons behind this decision have not yet been made public, however, the lawyers for Millet and Montull had requested it to have their clients avoid jail time.

In June 2020, Millet and Montull entered prison after being found guilty of embezzling 23 million euros according to a ruling by Catalonia’s High Court that was later upheld by Spain’s Supreme Court in April 2020.

The Supreme Court also ruled that Fèlix Millet and Jordi Montull would have to return the money to Palau de la Música.

Politicians part of the corruption scandal

The case also involved Catalonia’s decades-long ruling CDC party, a defunct predecessor to PDeCAT.

The Supreme Court lowered the sentence of the former treasurer of CDC Daniel Osàcar from four years and five months to three years and six months in prison.

CDC was found to rig public tenders in exchange for commissions to illegally finance itself with money that was transferred through false concert hall donations.

What is the 'Palau case'

The ‘Palau Case’ included 16 defendants but implicated two men in particular, Fèlix Millet and Jordi Montull.

The case began in the early 2000s, when anonymous reports were made to the Catalan Tax Agency about irregularities in the finances of various Catalan cultural institutions, including the Palau de la Musica concert hall, the Orfeó Català choral society, and the Consorci del Palau, the public entity that manages the institution.

After the unprecedented sight of Catalan police officers entering the modernist concert hall, Fèlix Millet and Jordi Montull publicly admitted they had diverted funds from the cultural entity into their own bank accounts.

Weeks later, they were summoned to court and charged with misuse of public funds, falsification of documents, money laundering, and tax fraud, among other offenses.

Both Millet and Montull confessed to using the funds for their private expenses, such as home renovations, household appliances, family trips, and even Millet’s daughter’s wedding.

They did so through falsifying invoices and withdrawing cash from the fund’s account in anything from checks to gold bars.

Montull’s daughter, Gemma, who was also charged, had been sentenced to 4.5 years in prison, but Spain's top judges reduced her sentence to 4 years with a 2.6 million euro fine for money laundering.