Mas Accused of Having Secret Swiss Bank Account

El Mundo Newspaper 16/11/2012

Fouché, the French police chief at the time of the French Revolution, wrote "Give me any letter that a man has written and I will send him to the guillotine".

The Spanish version of the same idea was "Give me a document supposedly written by a unit of the Policia Nacional and I will try to affect the outcome of the elections in Catalonia".

The Madrid newspaper El Mundo accused the President of the Generalitat, Artur Mas, and the ex-President, Jordi Pujol, of controlling funds belonging to the Palau de la Música through secret bank accounts in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

According to supposed report from the Brigada de Blanqueo de Capitales de la Unidad Central de Delincuencia Económica y Fiscal (UDEF), the momey-laundering unit of the Spanish National Police, the accounts had been opened by family members, one of Pujol's sons and Mas's deceased father.

The publication of the supposed draft document caused the judge who is instructing the Palau Case to say he had no knowledge of such a document and that he hadn't ordered any extra investigations by the judiciary police.

Secondly, the Minister of the Interior distanced himself from any leaks and ordered an internal investigation.

Thirdly, Artur Mas filed a lawsuit and the same evening gave one of the most passionate speeches of the election campaign up to that point. "They want to destroy us but I'm not going to back down. And if I fall, others will fall with me."

Fourthly, the other parties, particularly the PSC, doubted whether or not to exploit the situation as accusations during the Banca Catalana scandal of the 1990s had helped keep Jordi Pujol in power for 23 years.


Judge Josep Maria Pijuan, who was instructing the Palau Case denied ordering any investigations and said he had in his possession the last report drafted by the aforementioned police unit, which dealt with the transmission of funds to the former Fundació Trias Fragas, which was run by CiU and is now CatDem.

The report had been completed in May and the media had had access to it at the time.

Furthermore, he pointed out that neither the UDEF nor any other judiciary police unit is allowed to investigate cases on their own and all results of investigations must be passed on only to the relevant judge.

A draft report is floating around Madrid and the Ministry of the Interior also says it knows nothing about it.

The Minister, Jorge Fernández-Diaz ordered the director general of police to verify the existence of the report and warned him against leaks.

Artur Mas immediately filed a lawsuit for libel and complained the honour of "a person who cannot defend himself" had been questioned, in reference to his deceased father.

At a meeting in Vic, without papers on the stand, Mas used the scandal to ask for "an exceptional vote".

"They want to silence the voice of the people of Catalonia and when someone has the audacity to side with the people, they try to destroy that person. If I wasn't the President of Catalonia, they wouldn't bother with me. If they think they can get rid of me, others will take my place to lead the country".

Despite the denials of Judge Pijuan and the Interior Minister, the Partido Popular assumed that the accusations against Mas and Pujol were true.

They immediately added the idea that "Mas and Pujol have money in Switzerland while at the same time they demand independence for Catalonia" to their campaign.

Ex-Monister of Defence, Carme Chacón took the same line in her first electoral event alongside Pere Navarro. "For the lower classes cuts and flags, and for the upper classes, power and money, it doesn't matter if it's in Switzerland, Mexico or Argentina."

A few weeks earlier, the right-wing Spanish newspaper ABC had published that Mas had paid €1,600 for a night in a hotel in Moscow when on an official trip with a group of Catalan businessmen.

The businessman and PP representative in Barcelona, Enrique Lacalle, felt obliged to correct the lie and show that Mas had actually paid €265.

The director of El Mundo, Pedro J. Ramirez had already compared Catalanism with Nazism earlier in the campaign and the idea had been picked with variations on nazi, including fascist, totalitarian and deranged, by the rest of the Madrid press and politicians such as José Bono.

During the boycott on Catalan products during the the Estatut debate, El Mundo had published a list of the main Catalan brands so it definitely had a history of anti-Catalanism.

During a PP campaign event, Alicia Sánchez-Camach and Dolores de Cospedal denied the possibility of a new boycott being imposed because of the current upswing of the independence movement.

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