CORRUPTION

Prosecutors seek to indict Pujol for role in “ITV case”

Convergència leader denies intervening in public tender to favor bidders

The public prosecutor on Monday petitioned the regional High Court of Catalonia to indict the secretary general of the Convergència Democrática de Cataluña (CDC) arm of the ruling CiU coalition for allegedly helping a group of businessmen to obtain a public contract to run the ITV vehicle inspection centers in the region by intervening in the bidding process.

According to the police reports that feature in the case notes, Pujol was the political contact for the other people named in the ITV case and, therefore, “drove” the network. Prosecutors believe that Pujol may have committed a crime of influence peddling, which carries a sentence of between six months and two years in jail.

Pujol appeared before the media later in the day and said he had learned through the news that prosecutors were seeking his indictment and said he would consider stepping down from his post in the case that the petition is accepted. “Nobody should get in the way of the historic process this political formation has set in motion,” Pujol said in allusion to the CiU’s right-to-decide campaign on independence for the northern region. “I deny that I cooperated in the so-called ITV case,” he added.

As well as his post as secretary general of CDC, Pujol is also a parliamentary leader of the center-right nationalist CiU bloc. He did not say if he would leave both posts.

Within the CiU it is thought that Pujol, if indicted, would leave his parliamentary duties but retain those relating to the party. During his appearance, he made many references to the phantom police report into alleged Swiss accounts held by his family, a mainstay of Catalan politics. “It is not a coincidence.”

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