Andorran judge indicts Mariano Rajoy over Operation Catalunya

He is being investigated for alleged pressure by police officers on BPA to obtain Catalan politicians' bank details

2 min
Former Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz with former Spanish President Mariano Rajoy, in a file image.

BarcelonaAn Andorran judge has charged the former Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy and his Minister of the Interior, Jorge Fernández Díaz, for allegedly pressuring Banca Privada d'Andorra (BPA) in the framework of Operation Catalunya. The investigation derives from a complaint filed in 2020 by the entity Drets and the Institut de Drets Humans d'Andorra, and which the former president of BPA Higini Cierco and also the Pujol family joined as injured parties. The judge has given Rajoy and Fernández Díaz 15 days to find an Andorran lawyer and also announced former Secretary of State of the Interior Francisco Martínez and former director of the National Police Ignacio Cosidó were also under investigation, El Mundo reported and the plaintiffs have later confirmed.

Andorra's examining magistrate number 2, Stéphanie Garcia, has issued letters rogatory to notify the defendants of the complaint and has also issued a new subpoena for former deputy operational director of the National Police Eugenio Pino and former chief inspector Bonifacio Díez, who were previously summoned but did not show up.

The complaint was filed for the crimes of coercion, threats, extortion, blackmail and forgery, and accuses Rajoy and Fernández Díaz of sending police officers to pressure the heads of BPA to obtain information on the bank accounts of Catalan politicians, including Artur Mas, Oriol Junqueras and the Pujol family. In a statement, the two plaintiffs denounce Rajoy's actions as "an attack on Andorran sovereignty" and warn that, unlike the king, the Spanish president "is not protected by immunity provided for in Article 8 of the Andorran Criminal Code, and neither are the ministers and other political officials involved".

The closure of Banco Madrid

According to Efe, the complaint claims that the Spanish government extorted BPA's managers by threatening to close its Spanish subsidiary, Banco Madrid, if they did not provide them with the information. According to this version, Rajoy's government sent false information about BPA to the U.S. Office of Financial Crimes Enforcement, while "intimidating" the Andorran government and its ministers during an official visit to the Principality in January 2015.

Finally, the Bank of Spain ended up intervening and closing Banco Madrid in March 2015 for "money laundering", even though the allegations have not yet been proven.