Fèlix Millet, mastermind of corruption scandal that shook Catalonia, dies aged 87

Former president of Palau de la Música was sentenced to almost 10 years for embezzling €23m

Fèlix Millet leaving the court after being found guilty of corruption in the 'Palau Case' in January 2018 (by Elisenda Rosanas)
Fèlix Millet leaving the court after being found guilty of corruption in the 'Palau Case' in January 2018 (by Elisenda Rosanas) / ACN
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

March 16, 2023 02:04 PM

March 16, 2023 04:12 PM

The former president of the Palau de la Música concert hall, Fèlix Millet, passed away on Thursday aged 87, as the Catalan News Agency (ACN) was able to confirm. He was well-known for being the mastermind behind one of the biggest corruption scandals in Catalonia.

Millet was 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. 

He was sentenced to nine years and eight months for his role in what was called 'Cas Palau,' in reference to the concert hall.

Millet and the former treasurer of the institution, Jordi Montull, entered prison in early 2020, and the Spanish government later rejected a pardon request.

Following a Supreme Court ruling, Millet and Montull had to return the money to the institution.

The case also involved Catalonia’s decades-long ruling CDC party, a defunct predecessor to the pro-independence PDeCAT party, and the governing party for over two decades under the leadership of Jordi Pujol.

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.

Few things to mention

"There's not much to say about someone (Fèlix Millet) that did so much damage to one of the most important cultural institutions in Catalonia," Catalan culture minister, Natàlia Garriga,  said when asked about the death of Millet.



Similar to Garriga's comments, Catalan president Pere Aragonès during a trip to Argentina considered that Catalonia "has to keep working against corruption to strengthen Catalan and worldwide cultural institutions."

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.