Catalan ex-premier Pujol’s lawyers go on offensive against Andorra secrecy breach

Defense files complaint in principality against individual whose revelations led to fortune confession

Former Catalan premier Jordi Pujol speaks to the press outside his holiday home in Queralbs (Girona).
Former Catalan premier Jordi Pujol speaks to the press outside his holiday home in Queralbs (Girona).PERE DURAN

Lawyers representing the family of former Catalan leader Jordi Pujol have decided that attack is the best form of defense.

Late on Tuesday, Pujol’s attorneys filed a complaint with authorities in Andorra, where he recently admitted in a letter to keeping a hidden fortune for 34 years.

The complaint is aimed at the anonymous individual who breached the country’s banking secrecy laws, leading to the revelation about the undeclared millions.

Pujol’s defense hopes that after settling their debts with the Spanish treasury, his wife and children will be protected from any criminal prosecution – with the exception of Pujol’s sons Jordi and Oriol Pujol Ferrusola, who are already being investigated for other alleged crimes.

The confession caused a political outcry in Catalonia

The lawyers are also hoping to hold back international requests for information issued by two Spanish judges investigating the accounts of eldest son Jordi Pujol Ferrusola. The requests have been sent to authorities in Andorra and Switzerland.

The legal move was immediately criticized by opposition parties in Catalonia.

“It is a deplorable decision, indecent and unacceptable,” said Joan Herrera, general coordinator of the leftist-green ICV, who accused the Pujols of trying to obstruct the course of justice.

Carina Mejías, spokeswoman for Ciutadans, called the move “shameless,” while Tomás Gómez, secretary general for the Madrid Socialist Party, lamented that after years of hearing that “Spain is robbing Catalonia” it turns out that “such a significant family” as Jordi Pujol’s has been allegedly depriving the region of taxes.

The Pujols’ legal move has been criticized by the opposition

Pressure has been growing against Jordi Pujol to personally appear before the Catalan parliament to explain the events that he described in his letter. The Catalan Republican Left (ERC), which partners with the CiU nationalist bloc in the Catalan executive, has made this a condition to avoid the creation of an investigative committee in the lower house.

Pujol’s wife, Marta Ferrusola, and their seven children regularized their tax situation on July 25, the same day that the former premier released a public letter to explain how he amassed a fortune of over €4 million and failed to declare it to the revenue service for 34 years.

The confession caused a political outcry and Pujol, who led the region for 23 years and is considered one of the founding fathers of modern Catalan nationalism, was stripped of his privileges as a former premier, including his chauffeur, private office, hefty pension and the title of “Most Honorable.”

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