The former president of Catalonia, Jordi Pujol i Soley, who chaired the Catalan Government for 23 consecutive years, is accused of illicit possession and laundering of public funds. According to some reports, the stolen sums are estimated to be about 1.5-1.8 billion euro; at that in the banks of Andorra his family could have the accounts with about 500 million euro – claimed the representatives of Spanish police that investigate the case.
According to the experts, the investigation proceeds slowly and with great difficulties. It should be recalled that, in Andorra that the criminal penalties are valid for the disclosure the mere fact of bank account existence, not to mention the disclosure of the name of the beneficiary. According to investigators, the former President took bribes from different companies for transferring state orders for various works.
The information on opening the bank accounts in Andorra involving large sums of cash was widely publicized when the former spouse of Jordi Pujol Jr. (the son of the former President of Catalonia), Maria Victoria Alvarez Martin, reported the fact to the police of Spain in November 2012. In the statement it is mentioned that during a common trip to Andorra, she saw bags stuffed with 200 and 500-euro notes in the trunk of her husband’s car.
One year later it was reported, that Jordi Pujol, Jr. has invested more than 9 million euro in a acquiring of Rosario port in Argentina – one of the main economic bulwarks of Latin America. The funds for the transaction were transferred from Andbank accounts, as well as from the banks of Switzerland and Panama. The police experts also discovered the fact, that during the Christmas holidays of 2010-2011, there were made 11 transactions into the Andorran bank accounts of the former president, his wife and children, worth 3.4 million euros.
Last week, Jordi Pujol himself, admitted the only fact that in Andorra for several years he kept 3 million euro, inherited from his father. He admitted that he tried to avoid the necessity to pay taxes in Spain and assured that he regretted the decision. In this regard, the former President of Catalonia voluntarily renounced preferences, which he enjoyed for 10 years after leaving his post. Among them a lifetime pension, which is estimated to be 82 000 euro annually.
Meanwhile, the scandal could seriously harm the movement for an independence of Catalonia, as far as Jordi Pujol is considered, the “father” of modern Catalan nationalism, he is also an honorary member of the ruling party in the region, and a political mentor of the current President of Catalonia, Artur Mas i Gavarró.