High Court trial of Pujol family begins

Judge Pedraz imposes a €7.5m bail for the former president's eldest son

2 min
The former president of the Generalitat Jordi Pujol in April 2017 after a search of his house.

MadridHigh Court judge Santiago Pedraz has started the trial against Catalan ex-president Jordi Pujol and his family. The defendants now have a month to present their defence briefs, after the Prosecutor's Office and the Attorney General presented their provisional conclusions. Pedraz, who took over from magistrate José de la Mata, will judge Pujol, his seven children, Mercè Gironès - ex-wife of Jordi Pujol Ferrusola, his eldest son - and ten businessmen. The crimes for which they are on trial are illicit association, money laundering, continued crime of forgeries of commercial documents, seven crimes against public finances and obstructing the enforcement process.

This step mainly certifies that the trial will be held. The judge also had to determine whether civil liabilities had to be claimed preventively, which indeed the magistrate has decided. Thus, Jordi Pujol Ferrusola is required to pay a €7.5m bail and Gironès a €400,000 bail, with the warning that if they do not satisfy it or declare themselves bankrupt, their assets will be seized. As for the situation of freedom of all the defendants, Pedraz has not changed anything and considers that their presence at the trial is not in doubt.

The decision by the examining magistrate comes the day after the written statement by the Attorney General, which decided not to accuse the former president nor the majority of his family, only his children Jordi and Josep Pujol Ferrusola. The eldest son is considered the leader of the allegedly corrupt scheme both by the Prosecutor's Office, which does accuse Jordi Pujol Sr and seeks nine years in prison for him, and the Attorney General. The Prosecutor is seeking 29 years in prison and the Attorney General 25 for Jordi Pujol Jr, and believe he was behind the movements of money abroad.

In total 19 people stand accused. As well as those already mentioned, businessmen Francesc Robert, Bernardo Domínguez, José Barrigón, Gustavo Buesa, Josep Mayola, Alejandro Fuerrero, Luis Delso, Carles Sumarroca, Josep Cornadó and Carles Vilarrubí will stand trial. Pujol's wife, Marta Ferrusola, was left out after her defence alleged "severe dementia" that the High Court accepted as an argument to abandon the legal case against her.