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Tax and judicial authorities send the first enquiries to former Catalan President Jordi Pujol

On Friday the Spanish Tax Agency delivered a summons to the historical leader of Catalan nationalism, Jordi Pujol, who confessed two weeks ago that his family had non-declared money from his father's inheritance in fiscal paradises for more than 35 years. Also on Friday, the Barcelona judge investigating the case requested that Pujol hand in his father's last will and the document accepting the inheritance. In addition, the judge sent petitions to Andorra and Switzerland for financial information about Pujol, his wife and his 7 children. Several media outlets have reported that 4 of Pujol's sons could have fortunes abroad, allegedly out of tax control and coming from corrupt activities. Meanwhile, the person who chaired the Catalan Government between 1980 and 2003 and was essential in Spain's democratic transition and modern history, has been cast out of the party he founded (CDC) and has had all his official honours, pension and office taken away from him.

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08 August 2014 08:55 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- On Friday The Spanish Tax Agency delivered a summons to the historical leader of Catalan nationalism, Jordi Pujol, who confessed two weeks ago that his family had a bank account in Andorra with money coming from his father's inheritance that had not been declared for some 35 years. Also on Friday, the Barcelona judge investigating the case requested that Pujol hand in his father's last will and the document accepting the inheritance. In addition, the judge sent petitions to Andorra and Switzerland requesting financial information about Pujol, his wife and his 7 children. Several media outlets have reported that 4 of Pujol's sons could have fortunes abroad, allegedly out of tax control and coming from corrupt activities. Since the confession, the former Catalan President had not appeared in public and was staying in a house owned by his oldest son in Tour de Querol, a village in the French part of Catalonia. Furthermore, he has been cast out of the party he founded (CDC) and has had away all the official honours, pension and office as former President of Catalonia taken away from him. On Thursday he talked to the press for the first time and said he was willing to cooperate with the tax and judicial authorities.


On Wednesday evening Pujol was seen in his own house in Queralbs, a small village in the Spanish side of the Pyrenees where he normally spends his holidays. On Thursday, Pujol appeared in public for the first time, walking along Queralbs' stony streets. Although he initially refused to talk to the press, who were pressuring him, he finally made a short statement in which he repeated that he was willing to cooperate with the tax and judicial authorities. The day after, he received the first formal requests.

The ERC will back setting up an investigation committee if Pujol does not go to the Parliament

However, in his statement on Thursday Pujol did not clarify whether he will ask to talk in front of the Catalan Parliament in order to provide explanations about the fiscal fraud he confessed. This step had been requested by all the parties except his own group, the governing centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU. On Friday, the left-wing Catalan independence party ERC, which has a parliamentary stability agreement with the CiU, said that they will ask to set up a formal parliamentary committee to investigate Pujol's case if the former Catalan President does not provide such explanations to the Chamber. Furthermore, the ERC's Secretary General, Marta Rovira, stated that Pujol's case "buries the Autonomous Community stage", since the Catalan President had been a major advocate of this model and had opposed independence in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and early 2000.

Jordi Pujol's scandal, which broke out on Friday 25th of July, has been a major political earthquake in Catalonia and in Spain, as it comes in the middle of the self-determination process and a deep political crisis affecting the entire political class and the system issued from the Transition after Franco's Spanish nationalist and military dictatorship. Pujol has been an essential figure in Catalonia's fight against Franco, in Spain's democratic transition, in the shaping of the Autonomous Communities system, in building the new structures of Catalonia's restored self-government and in Spain's political and economic stability of the 1990s, leading the country into the Eurozone. In 2003 he decided not to run for re-election and stepped down from the Catalan Government, which he had chaired with an undisputed authority for 23 consecutive years. He also quit the very frontline of politics, although he remained the Founding President of CDC, the Liberal party he founded in 1974, and the CiU, the coalition CDC has been forming with the Christian-Democrat UDC since the late 1970s.

The charges against Pujol and particularly two of his sons started in autumn 2012, coinciding with the moment the person who had chaired the Catalan Executive between 1980 and 2003, and had reached manifold agreements with the Spanish Government to strengthen Catalonia's autonomy, stated for the first time that he would support independence from Spain. In the last two years, there have been manifold news involving himself and particularly two of his sons – Jordi and Oriol – although two others have also been mentioned. However, most of the news, or at least that which reported millionaire activities, targeted his oldest son, Jordi Pujol Ferrusola, who was allegedly earning millions in obscure businesses and acting as a middleman in sales operations. The cases are now under several judicial and tax investigations, and no sentence has been issued. However, Pujol's confession confirms that something dodgy was going on in his family. The case has been used by Madrid-based media and politicians to attack the Catalan self-determination process, since Pujol was the historical leader of Catalan nationalism, he started to support independence 2 years ago and was the political father of many current leaders of the CDC, starting with the current Catalan President, Artur Mas. However, there is also news reporting that in the 1990s and early 2000s the Spanish Government would have instructed the Public Prosecution Office to not investigate Pujol, since he was essential for Spain's stability and was a contention wall against Catalan pro-independence parties. The case will be at the centre of Spanish and Catalan politics for the next few months.

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  • Jordi Pujol (centre) and his wife, Marta Ferrussola, in their house in Queralbs (by L. Busquets)

  • Jordi Pujol (centre) and his wife, Marta Ferrussola, in their house in Queralbs (by L. Busquets)