“I didn’t want to know anything about inheritance,” claims ex-Catalan chief

EL PAÍS gains access to extract of Jordi Pujol’s testimony in hidden fortune probe

Former Catalan premier Jordi Pujol and his wife, Marta Ferrusola, arrive to testify Tuesday before a Barcelona judge.
Former Catalan premier Jordi Pujol and his wife, Marta Ferrusola, arrive to testify Tuesday before a Barcelona judge.ALBERT GARCIA (EL PAÍS)

Former Catalan premier Jordi Pujol on six occasions told the judge investigating the fortune he kept hidden in Andorra that he wanted to completely wash his hands of an alleged inheritance left him by his father.

EL PAÍS has obtained a brief summary of Jordi Pujol's testimony on Tuesday, which was recorded on video.

“I didn’t want to know anything about that inheritance,” he said four times, adding that he “wasn't aware of anything” and that he “absolutely distanced” himself from it.

The 84-year-old founder of the pro-independence Convergència party was subpoenaed along with his wife to testify on Tuesday before Barcelona Judge Beatriz Balfagon, who is investigating whether Pujol is telling the truth about the source of the wealth he kept in an account in Andorra. 

Two friends, now deceased, helped manage the accounts following Florenci Pujol’s death, he explained

Pujol told the judge that his father, Florenci, left the money not to him, but to his wife, María Ferrusola, and their seven children. He, his wife and five of his children are official targets of the investigation.

Two people – friends of the family who are now deceased – helped manage the accounts following Florenci Pujol’s death in 1980, he explained. Pujol said he saw the inheritance as “a nest egg” for his wife and family to “ensure” their future was secured.

The patriarch of one of the most powerful political families in Catalonia, Pujol also explained why his sister never knew about the inheritance, or was even aware that their father had made a fortune through alleged dollar exchange transactions during the Franco dictatorship.

It was because Florenci kept everything “a big secret,” Pujol said.

The anticorruption attorney investigating the case, Alejandro Luzón, has serious doubts about the origins of the money and has underscored the numerous “gaps and contradictions” in Pujol’s story about an undocumented inheritance.

Investigators suspect that the money may in fact have come from commissions paid out by companies to secure public contracts during Pujol’s long tenure as regional premier, from 1980 to 2003. Several of his children are already under investigation for suspicious business dealings.

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