fraud

Judicial investigations heat up against Pujol family's alleged fiscal offenses and influence peddling

October 23, 2014 08:50 PM | ACN

On Thursday, Oleguer Pujol, the youngest son of the former Catalan President, Jordi Pujol Soley, was formally indicted for alleged fiscal fraud and money laundering. The Spanish Police and the Public Prosecutor searched his house and several of his companies looking for files regarding real estate operations. This makes Oleguer the third son of the historical leader of conservative Catalan nationalism to be indicted for fiscal offenses. Furthermore, on Wednesday another judge indicted 11 people related to the former President's oldest son, Jordi Pujol Ferrusola – who seems to be at the centre of almost all the investigations. In addition, the judge has requested the freezing of his bank accounts in Andorra, from which he transferred €2.4 million to Mexico just after his father's fiscal fraud confession in July. On top of this, a judge from Liechtenstein is investigating the former Catalan President for alleged money laundering, after requests from the Spanish Police. Jordi Pujol senior has denied having had any bank account in the Alpine country.

"I haven't been a corrupt politician", states former Catalan President Jordi Pujol but doesn't answer questions

September 26, 2014 10:51 PM | ACN

Jordi Pujol, who chaired the Catalan Government for 23 years between 1980 and 2003, has given further explanations about his fiscal fraud confession to the Catalan Parliament but he has not answered the manifold questions from the MPs. Furthermore, Pujol was visibly angry over some accusations launched by Spanish nationalist parties and alternative left MPs. There had been a lot of expectation for this parliamentary hearing for the person who used to lead the centre-right Catalan nationalism from the mid-1970s to the early 2000s, who confessed at the end of July that his family had been storing money in tax havens for the last 34 years without informing tax authorities. In the current political situation of tensions between Catalonia and Spain, with many corruption scandals emerging and with millions of people suffering from the hard effects of the economic crisis, Pujol's confession ignited the atmosphere. On top of this, the former Catalan President had referred on many occasions to the merits of hard work

Left-wing independence party ERC requests to join Catalan Government to protect self-determination vote

September 16, 2014 09:37 PM | ACN

The left-wing independence party ERC asked the Catalan President to join the Government "in order to protect the [self-determination] consultation vote" scheduled on the 9th of November. The Catalan President, Artur Mas, stated that they will talk about it in the coming days to strengthen the unity around November's vote. In addition, the Catalan Socialist party (PSC) also asked Mas to talk to them if the Constitutional Court ultimately bans the consultation vote. The People's Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government, accused Mas of promoting "a soft dictatorship" in Catalonia. The green-socialist and post-communist coalition ICV stated they want a consultation vote with "credibility". The Spanish nationalist and populist C's said that Mas' time is finished and asked for early elections. Finally, the alternative left and radical independence party CUP advocated ignoring Spain's institutions and voting on the 9th of November by any means.

Son of former Catalan President Jordi Pujol denies having earned illegal commissions before the judge

September 15, 2014 09:31 PM | ACN

The judicial process for alleged tax fraud against family members of the former President of Catalonia Jordi Pujol (who led centre-right Catalan nationalism from the mid-1970s until 2003) has started this week with the testimony of his oldest son, Jordi Pujol Ferrussola, in front of the Spain's High Court 'Audiencia Nacional'. Judge Pablo Ruz is investigating the tax fraud confessed by Pujol senior in late July, which shocked the whole of Catalan society, as well as alleged money laundering, influence peddling and corruption offenses that might have been committed by some of Pujol's sons. This Monday, the oldest son denied having earned any illegal commission and stressed that the tenders in which he worked as an advisor were all carried out at least 2 years after his father left the Catalan Government. He also criticised the annual report drafted by the Spanish Police for being vague and inexact.

The People's Party offer to form a grand coalition against Catalonia's independence is only accepted by UPyD

September 5, 2014 10:08 PM | ACN

On Friday, in Badalona (Greater Barcelona), the Secretary General of the PP, María Dolores de Cospedal, launched the idea to form a wide-spectrum coalition against secession in the next Catalan elections, which should unite all of the parties opposing independence from Spain. However, it has been rejected by the main parties which were targeted, and only the Spanish nationalist UPyD, which gets marginal results in Catalonia, has welcomed the initiative. According to Cospedal, this united list should bring together the PP (running the Spanish Government), UPyD, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), the anti-Catalan nationalism and populist C's, and the Christian-Democrat UDC, which is part of the two-party centre-right pro-Catalan state coalition CiU, which runs the Catalan Government. The PSC and UDC – which recognise Catalonia's right to self-determination - have totally rejected the idea. Even so, the PP's leader stated that "in Catalonia there is an undercover dictatorship", pushing for "a single way of thinking".

Opposition parties file two requests to launch parliamentary investigations into Pujol's fraud

September 3, 2014 09:58 PM | ACN

As it was announced on Tuesday, all the opposition parties except the Catalan Socialists (PSC) have filed requests to create investigation committees at the Catalan Parliament as a result of the fiscal fraud confessed by the former President of Catalonia, Jordi Pujol, and other offenses he or his entourage could have allegedly committed. Two requests were filed separately on Wednesday morning, one presented by left-wing parties supporting self-determination (ERC, ICV-EUiA and CUP) and the other presented by the two Spanish nationalist parties (PP and C's). The first one aims to check whether there have been cases of "fraud, fiscal evasion and political corruption […] in the context of Pujol's case" and "in the context of public-private contracts […] during the last decades". The second one aims to scrutinise "the existence of bank accounts in fiscal paradises owned by current or former officials of the Catalan Government, their illicit gain and/or the earning of illegal commissions".

Pujol accepts to give explanations to the Catalan Parliament but he will do it after the 22nd of September

September 2, 2014 08:27 PM | ACN

On Tuesday, as it was expected, the Catalan Parliament has approved to request that the former President of Catalonia, Jordi Pujol, provides the Chamber with further explanations about his family's fiscal fraud which he confessed to in late July. The request has been unanimously approved, including by the governing centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, which was led by Pujol for three decades. The former Catalan President has accepted to appear in front of the Parliament despite it not being "obligatory", as he noted down. However, he asked to do it after the 22nd of September "in order not to interfere" with the self-determination process and "the high political voltage events" of the coming days. The opposition parties supporting self-determination are angry with Pujol's delay and will ask for a parliamentary investigation committee to be launched.

Spanish Government links Pujol's fraud with support for Catalan independence

September 2, 2014 08:17 PM | ACN

The Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, did not hesitate to link the fiscal fraud confessed by the former Catalan President, Jordi Pujol, to the rest of the politicians supporting Catalonia's independence. In a public hearing before the Spanish Parliament, as the manager of the country's Tax Agency, Montoro said that "those who radicalise their political speeches, pretending to challenge the State, are at the same time making money out of it and earning personal benefits", putting Jordi Pujol together with all those supporting independence. In addition, Montoro stated that the Spanish Tax Agency will act against Pujol and launch "administrative and judicial" processes. The Catalan Government accused Montoro of using the State's structures to back "partisan interests" instead of merely "fighting fraud". Furthermore, the CiU criticised Montoro for linking Pujol's case to the Catalan self-determination process.

Pujol's former party CiU will also request his appearance before the Catalan Parliament

September 1, 2014 09:45 PM | ACN

The former Catalan President Jordi Pujol, who confessed in late July that his family had committed fiscal fraud for years by having a hidden fortune in Andorra, will also be requested to provide further explanations before the Catalan Parliament by the coalition he founded and used to lead, the centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, which currently runs the Catalan Government. On Monday the CiU confirmed that they will vote on Tuesday for the parliamentary appearance request, joining the rest of Catalan parties. Pujol's fraud has shocked Catalan society and has been presented by Madrid-based forces as a fatal threat to the self-determination process. However, there are increasing amount of news pointing towards the theory that the Spanish authorities (Government, tax agency and public prosecutor) and the two main parties (PP and PSOE) knew about Pujol family's fraud for decades and covered it up in exchange for his opposition to independence. In fact, Pujol had always worked to better fit Catalonia within a more modern Spain and only embraced pro-independence stances two years ago.

Extreme-right organisation files a complaint against former Catalan President Jordi Pujol for corruption

August 13, 2014 10:01 PM | ACN

Manos Limpias, a Spanish far-right nationalist trade union, has finally filed a judicial complaint for corruption against the historical leader of Catalan nationalism and President of Catalonia between 1980 and 2003, Jordi Pujol, and his wife, Marta Ferrussola. For the last two years, there has been increasing news that allegedly link Pujol's sons to illegal businesses and hidden fortunes. On top of this, two weeks ago, Pujol confessed that his family had been hiding money from the tax authorities for 35 years. This immediately provoked a political earthquake since Pujol is an essential figure in Catalonia's and Spain's contemporary history: he worked to expand Catalonia's autonomy within Spain but in the last two years he started to support independence. Spanish nationalist forces believe that Pujol's fall will have a fatal effect on the self-determination process. However, there are also many rumours stating that the  Spanish authorities might have been protecting Pujol for decades since he was against independence.

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

August 8, 2014 08:55 PM | 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 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.

Former Catalan President Jordi Pujol gives up all his benefits and will face a parliamentary committee

July 29, 2014 09:04 PM | ACN

The historical leader of conservative Catalan nationalism, Jordi Pujol, who chaired the Catalan Government between 1980 and 2003, has been forced to give up all his honorary titles, his pension and his office as former President due to the fiscal fraud to which he confessed on Friday. Furthermore, all the opposition parties demanded that Pujol provide further explanations to the Catalan Parliament. The veteran politician explained that he had kept a fortune in an Andorran bank since 1980, which was not reported to the tax authorities during almost 35 years. The confession arrived after two years of rumours and news regarding his family's fortune and after several of his sons faced judicial investigations for alleged fiscal offenses. The news shocked Catalonia's society since Pujol was a widely respected figure, regardless of individual ideology, and played a crucial role in Spanish and Catalan politics.

Jordi Pujol's fiscal fraud becomes a threat for self-determination process

July 28, 2014 09:35 PM | ACN

Catalan politics and society are shocked after Jordi Pujol, President of the Catalan Government between 1980 and 2003, confessed on Friday evening that his family had €4 million in Andorra for 35 years which had never been declared to the tax authorities. Madrid-based media and politicians have immediately linked Pujol's scandal to Catalonia's self-determination with the aim to delegitimise the process since the retired politician had been the historical leader of the conservative Catalan nationalists. Parties supporting self-determination have distanced themselves from Pujol, including CDC, the Liberal party he founded in 1974 during Franco's dictatorship that now runs the Catalan Government. It is expected that Jordi Pujol (84) will resign as CDC's Founding President in the next few hours. His confession comes after his family and particularly two of his sons have been targeted by the media and judicial investigations for corruption since 2012.

Catalonia, the Basque Country and Castile and León lead transparency rankings, while Madrid is at the bottom

July 17, 2014 10:10 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government, alongside the executives of the Basque Country and Castile and León, is leading the index of Autonomous Communities in terms of transparency, according to a study issued on Thursday by the organisation Transparency International Spain. These three Autonomies scored 100 out of 100 in the study, which was based on 80 indicators. They were followed by La Rioja (96), Galícia (94) and the Balearic Islands (93). The Region of Madrid occupies the last position in the ranking, with 65 points, behind the Region of Múrcia (79), the Canary Islands (80) and Castilla-La Mancha (84). The average across Spain is 88.6 out of 100. The study called upon regional governments to indicate the exact location of various data and information about elected officials, political appointments, organisation and personal wealth.

Underground economy represents 24.6% of Catalonia's GDP

January 29, 2014 08:22 PM | ACN

The economic crisis and especially the recession starting in 2009 have contributed to the growing weight of the underground economy in Catalonia and in Spain, according to a study presented on Wednesday by the Spanish Ministry of Finance’s Union of Technicians (Gestha). This study is entitled ‘L’economia submergida passa factura. Avançament del frau a Espanya durant la crisi’ (Underground economy takes its toll. Growing fraud in Spain during the crisis) and is led by Jordi Sardà, a professor at Tarragona’s Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV). It reveals that according to the latest figures (from 2012) the underground economy has absorbed 24.6% of Catalonia’s GDP, hiding €47.36 billion. In 2009 the weight of illegal activity amounted to 22.3 %, meaning that between 2009 and 2012 some €4.6 billion were hidden.