Ex-Catalan chief dodges toughest opposition questions over fortune

Pujol tells regional parliament that money he hid abroad did not come from public funds

Jordi Pujol before the Catalan parliament on Monday.
Jordi Pujol before the Catalan parliament on Monday.Albert Garcia

Former Catalan regional premier Jordi Pujol reiterated on Monday that a large inheritance he received from his father that was deposited in bank accounts in tax havens did not come from public funds.

Speaking in the Catalan parliament, where he was questioned by the opposition, the 84-year-old politician also denied that he held any foreign accounts.

“I don’t pretend to answer question by question, nor will I do so at the end of this session,” said the founder of the pro-independence Convergència party.

Pujol, who was called to testify last month by a Barcelona judge investigating the foreign accounts, refused to respond to opposition lawmakers who demanded specifics about the inheritance money.

The trial for my 23 years as premier will have to be held at another time and place”

“The trial for my 23 years as regional premier will have to be held at another time and place,” he said.

During his January 27 court appearance, Pujol testified that his father Florencia Pujol left an undisclosed amount of money to the former regional premier’s wife, María Ferrusola, and their children as “a nest egg” before he died in 1980.

Pujol said he never wanted anything to do with the money deposited in accounts in Andorra and Switzerland, and put his son, Jordi Pujol Ferrusola, in charge of distributing it among the siblings.

Last July, the former premier released a public statement acknowledging the existence of the foreign accounts and admitted paying fines to settle the irregular situation with Spanish tax authorities. While he did not disclose any amounts, preliminary investigations showed that the former Catalan premier had at least €4 million deposited in the Banca Privada de Andorra.

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During his remarks before the Catalan parliament, Pujol said that while he regretted that his entire court testimony had been leaked to the press, it was “very important” that citizens had “direct access to the information.”

Jordi Terrades, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) spokesman, asked Pujol to show “some effort in transparency.”

“Do it not to save your family fortunes but to save your own political legacy,” he said.

Pujol has said he has no documents that support his father’s gesture. He said that Florenci Pujol made a fortune trading currencies on the black market during the Franco regime when such transactions were considered illegal.


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