Son of former Catalan President, Jordi Pujol Ferrusola, tells judge how Andorran money grew
Jordi Pujol Ferrusola, the eldest son of former Catalan President Jordi Pujol, has testified in court to explain the management of the money his family kept in Andorra for 34 years without informing the Spanish tax authorities. Jordi Pujol senior confessed the alleged fraud in July, shocking the entire Catalan society and destroying his moral leadership. In the past few months, the former Catalan President (1980-2003), his wife, and 6 of their 7 children have been indicted for alleged fiscal fraud, and 3 of them are also indicted for other corruption and fraud cases. The Spanish authorities may have known about irregular activities of the Pujol family for decades, but it only made front-pages when the former President started to publicly support independence. Besides, the Catalan Parliament have already undertaken a series of hearings to investigate potential corrupt practices during Pujol's governments.
Barcelona (ACN).- Jordi Pujol Ferrusola, the eldest son of former President of the Catalan Government Jordi Pujol, has testified in court in order to explain the origins and the management of the money his family had kept in the tax haven of Andorra for 34 years without informing the Spanish tax authorities. Between 1980 and 2000, the funds multiplied almost tenfold, due to opaque and anonymous financial operations, explained Pujol Ferrusola on Thursday, according to judicial sources and the lawyers of the extreme-right and Spanish nationalist organisation Manos Limpias, which is part of the accusation. Jordi Pujol senior, aged 84, confessed the alleged fraud in July, shocking the entire Catalan society and destroying his public image and moral leadership. In the past few months, the former Catalan President (1980-2003), his wife, and 6 of their 7 children have been indicted for alleged fiscal fraud, and 3 of them are also indicted for other cases. An investigation in the Catalan Parliament is also ongoing. The Spanish authorities may have known about some irregular activities of the Pujol family for decades, but it only made front-pages when the former President started to publicly support independence in 2012.
The Catalan Parliament has during the last few weeks undertaken a series of hearings to investigate potential corrupt practices during Pujol's governments. In these hearings, all the members of the family explained that the eldest sibling, Jordi junior, was the one managing the funds in Andorra and later distributing the money to his younger brothers and sisters and their mother, Marta Ferrusola. However, they all rejected disclosing any details about the management of the funds until Jordi Pujol Ferrusola testified in front of the judge to explain these matters, which was scheduled for Thursday 26 March.
The July confession and the later statements by all the family members also highlighted that Pujol senior decided not to know anything about how the money in Andorra was managed, after his father, Florenci Pujol, left it to Marta Ferrusola and their children in 1980. According to the family version, in the years immediately after the Franco dictatorship, when the military and Fascists were still controlling most of the power in Spain, Florenci Pujol put some secret money abroad to help his daughter-in-law and his grandchildren in case his son was in trouble due to his political activities.
With the years, the money would have significantly increased and the family did not find the convenient moment to inform the Spanish tax authorities, in order not to damage the political careers of Jordi Pujol senior and his son Oriol Pujol Ferrusola. The first led the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition CiU between the 1970s and the early 2000s, and the second occupied important positions in the Catalan Government in the 1990s and early 2000s, became CiU's strong man in the Catalan Parliament between 2010 and 2013, and was also the coalition's 'number 3' in 2012 and 2013, before he stepped down from politics due to corruption scandals and indictments.
According to Jordi Pujol Ferrusola's testimony reported by Manos Limpias and judicial sources, the initial money was 140 million pesetas, equivalent to about €840,000 at that time. Jordi Pujol senior initially appointed a person close to him to manage the funds, which had been left for his wife and 7 children, until all his children would cease to be minors. In 1990, Jordi junior (born in 1958) started to manage the funds, at which time the initial 140 million pesetas had already turned into some 500 million. By the 2000, this had become 1,400 million pesetas (some €8 million).
The money increased because it was invested in a specific financial product, which was opaque and anonymous, similar to sovereign bonds and offering great rates of return. The money was mainly invested in Germany, Austria and Finland, but also in Spain and the United States. In 1992, each sibling and Marta Ferrusola opened their own individual bank accounts in Andorra, where Jordi junior was sending money. When the products were due to expire, he renewed them or distributed the profits among his siblings and mother.
From 2000 onwards, each sibling managed his or her own funds individually, and they were no longer a responsibility of Jordi junior. By this time, each sibling and their mother had just over €1 million from the initial funds left by Florenci Pujol. The eldest brother said he does not know what any of them did with the money afterwards and refused to give details concerning his personal bank accounts.