“I don’t allow myself to be interviewed. I thank you for your interest, but I won’t let myself go, ”former Catalan president Jordi Pujol told Clarion in February of last year.
In fact, Pujol, for whom the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office asks for 9 years in prison for considering him responsible for a string of crimes that include criminal organization, money laundering and falsification of documentation, had already allowed himself to be interviewed.
Between 2019 and 2020 he held conversations with the journalist and former deputy of Convergence and Union (CiU) -the Catalan party heir to Pujol- Vicenç Villatoro that now come to light in book form.
“I am not corrupt,” says Jordi Pujol in Between pain and hope, the political testament of the man who ruled Catalonia for twenty-three controversial years.
Jordi Pujol (right) and his wife Marta Ferrusola, in an image from 2016. Photo: AFP
There, he affirms that he never used the position he held between 1980 and 2003 to enrich himself: “I had much more assets in 1975 than when I was president,” says Pujol in the book.
Days to turn 91 -He will blow candles on June 9-, the face of the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC), the party he founded in the 1970s in the Benedictine monastery of Montserrat, reappears after seven years in the shadow and in silence.
The last confession
Pujol I haven’t spoken since 2014, when he confessed to having hidden in Andorra the family inheritance bequeathed by the businesses of his father, Florenci Pujol.
“My father’s inheritance is not the result of illegal commissions. It is not the result of political corruption ”, were his words.
His party, however, collected 6.6 million euros in illegal commissions, according to the Supreme Court, in exchange for granting public works through the Palau de la Música in Barcelona.
Pujol had not spoken since 2014, when he confessed to hiding his family inheritance in Andorra. Photo: EFE
Today, Pujol apologizes: “I apologize. I apologize to those close to whom I should have prevented them from being in the situation they are in. And I also have to apologize to the young man that I was fifty or sixty years ago. And to my country. Not with the aim of rehabilitation, just sorry, “he says in the book.
At the beginning of May, the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office filed prison orders against him and his children. Pujol would have agreed with his wife, Marta Ferrusola, that the proceeds from shady deals would be distributed to accounts opened in the name of her and her seven children.
For the heir of the clan, the first-born Jordi Pujol Ferrusola, the Prosecutor’s Office asks 29 years in prison. His mother was dismissed by the National Court for health reasons.
For the rest of his children, Anticorrupción requests penalties of between 7 and 14 years.
Between 1978 and 2015, Jordi Pujol’s CDC joined the Democratic Union of Catalonia and formed Convergence and Union (CiU), which in 2016 was renamed PDECat and whose leader, Artur Mas, is considered the architect of the Procés with which Catalan nationalism hopes to achieve the independence of Catalonia one day.
In the book, Pujol does not shy away from commenting on that sovereign dream. “It is true that it is not within your reach achieve independence ”, he admits.
“There was a part of the Catalan public opinion that believed that this whole process it would be quick and easy, with very little resistance from the State, and with a lot of international support. This it’s a chimera “, opines.