Former Catalan leader Jordi Pujol is resigning all his honorary positions and privileges after confessing that he kept an undeclared fortune in tax havens for 34 years.
The announcement was made by current regional premier Artur Mas, whose own career was launched by Pujol, who is considered the father of contemporary Catalan nationalism.
The fall from grace of a leading figure of “Catalanism” comes at a delicate time for Mas and his pro-independence drive, although the premier was quick to say that the process will not be stopped.
“This will not condition the events of the coming months,” he said, in reference to the November 9 referendum on self-rule. “The road map has been established and negotiated with many people. This is a tough moment, and some of us have personal feelings of pain, but the country will keep moving ahead in every sense.”
This is a tough moment, and some of us have personal feelings of pain, but the country will keep moving ahead in every sense” Catalan premier Artur Mas
Although Mas said 84-year-old Pujol told him he would give up all his privileges as early as Friday, there has been much speculation in recent days within his party, Convergència Democrática de Catalunya (CDC), one half of the CiU coalition, as to whether Pujol would take this step voluntarily or would have to be forced out by the party.
Pujol, who ruled the region for 23 years, will stop earning an annual pension of €86,418 and lose his office, his official car and his chauffeur. He will also no longer be honorary president of CDC.
His confession came in the middle of an investigation into the business dealings of his eldest son, Jordi Pujol Ferrusola, whose own fortune “did not come from the legal economy,” according to a police report. Another son, Oriol Pujol, was also investigated for dubious business activities.