Fernando J. Pérez
Madrid 17 AUG 2019 – 15:00 CEST
The former Catalan President Jordi Pujol and his family, especially the eldest son Jordi Pujol Ferrusola, amassed a fortune of 290 million euros in four decades of corruption that extended since the late 1970s, with the Banca Catalana scandal, and July 2014, when Pujol recognized that he had undeclared funds abroad and attributed them to the inheritance from his father, Florenci, according to a report by the Economic and Fiscal Crime Unit (UDEF) of the National Police. The report was sent on July 30 to the judge of the National Court José de la Mata, and it is the first time that a figure has been put in place – although estimated – to the wealth amassed by the Pujol.
In his report of 222 pages with several annexes, to which this newspaper has had access, the main police investigator of the ‘caso Pujol’ compiles all the supposed acts of political corruption that, in his opinion, are the antecedent of the money laundering crimes building up the core of the instruction. The report, despite not providing new data to a cause that is coming to an end, aims to “establish a logical basis which can be associated with the millionaire amounts shown” during the investigation into the business of the Pujol clan, which began in December 2012.
The report insists on the idea that the Pujol family, since they opened their first checking account in Andorra in November 1990, functioned as an organized criminal group that has received illicit capital gains “in a systematic and recurring manner” as a result of “corrupt practices”. The investigators place Junior, nickname with which the firstborn was known, as “family paladin” and “principal manager” of the fortune of the clan.
Jordi Pujol Ferrusola acted, according to the report, as de facto treasurer 0f Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya, the center-right nationalist party founded by his father and that was almost hegemonic in the autonomous community from 1980 to 2012. The report argues that Junior “would have developed the functions attributable to Andreu Viloca[treasurer]
in terms of the collection of 3% (or other percentages) in the first Catalan Autonomous Governments”, and allegedly “derived” a “substantial part of the money to the heritage of the family” Pujol.
The police dossier affirms that the party financed its campaigns from the Andorran accounts of Junior, fed with commissions paid by companies awarded public tenders. “Jordi Pujol Ferrusola has played a relevant role in the transformation of CDC as a closed, opaque site, and in the creation of an organizational chart with satellite entities, which has favored corruption”, the report considers.
The inspector thoroughly reviews elements of the investigation, such as the agendas of Jordi Pujol Ferrusola, which reflect contacts with businessmen, generally of construction and public works, who allegedly paid him commissions that nurtured the Andorran family accounts. It also describes Junior’s connections with companies such as Isolux, one of the great beneficiaries of works in Catalonia during pujolismo, or undercover payments for real estate and infrastructure operations in Mexico and Argentina. He also reviews judicial cases, such as the Grand Tibidabo or the ITV case, in which Oriol Pujol was convicted.
The report quantifies in 290 million euros “the income generated through Jordi Pujol Ferrusola for the benefit of the family nucleus”, formed by the parents, the former President Pujol, his wife, Marta Ferrusola – “especially active in the generation and management of the heritage of the family”, according to the Police — and the couple’s seven children. In this calculation, which the inspector admits that there may be “gaps” due to the effects of inflation and currency exchange, the income of origin unknown and detected in “various jurisdictions of the world” such as Andorra, Switzerland or Luxembourg are included. Also the returns on investments in projects such as that of Mexican development Mar Azul, in which Junior participated together with those responsible for Isolux, or that of the Argentine port of Rosario, whose entry was financed with funds supposedly injected from Switzerland.
The “civil death”
According to the report, “all income” by Jordi Pujol Ferrusola in Spain is due to fictitious advisory services justified with false invoices of his companies. The UDEF inspector says that during the investigation “many testimonies” have been collected from people who have not wanted to report bribes “because they would be civilly dead”. “The use of the [autonomous] Administration to make life difficult for those who opposed their modus vivendi has been daily practice”, says the investigator.
The report focuses on the activities generating the black money that Jordi Pujol Ferrusola later allegedly introduced into the legal economic circuit. However, the inspector 89,140 attributes at the beginning of his report to the firstborn of the former president “all amalgam of assessed signs” of money laundering: abnormal use of cash, front men, instrumental companies, tax havens, business operations without profitability, legal business fictitious, simulated loans, beneficiaries and senders of unknown transactions, documentary alterations… “The evidence is fully accredited with real and direct documents”, says the investigator. Judge De la Mata, for the moment, has not issued any order based on this report.
Sources of the defense of the Pujol family downplay the report, which they consider a mere “hodgepodge” of seven years of investigation “without any concrete indication of anything”. The lawyers remember that Jordi Pujol Ferrusola gave the pertinent explanations about his business to the investigating judges Pablo Ruz and José de la Mata. “For us there is still nothing and, if this is the final report, let’s finish as soon as possible and go to trial, the explanations are given”, said the lawyers.