The president of the Catalan PP until 2018 and the mayor of Badalona Xavier García Albiol received a general power of attorney from a company in Belize, a tax haven in the north of Central America- processed through an Andorran manager linked to the Andbank bank. The document allowed to open bank accounts abroad to manage properties.
This is reflected in the investigation of Pandora’s Papers that publishes this Wednesday El País. The project, with more than 11.9 million documents from law firms around the world, has been coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and more than 600 journalists and 117 countries have participated in it, including El País, The sixth or elDiarioAR. Investigations have also pointed to other Spaniards such as Miguel Bosé or Pep Guardiola.
Albiol joined the Belicense joint-stock company Luverne Internacional Inc. on April 7, 2005, being secretary of municipal politics of the Catalan PP. The firm was created on January 1 of that same year and dissolved on December 9, 2015, ten years later. The letter gave García Albiol the ability to act in the purchase and sale of properties, bonds, stocks and companies, although it is unknown what he used it for. It also gave her the possibility of opening and closing checking and savings accounts in “national and foreign institutions.”
The document also allowed to manage deposits and safe deposit boxes in bank vaults and to resort to the Melicean company to create and dissolve companies, submit to public and private tenders, buy goods, shares and securities and collect rents, credits or extract funds. In fact, point 15 includes the capacity to “take real, bodily or symbolic possession of all kinds of goods that correspond to society.”
When asked by El País and La Sexta, Albiol affirmed that it was “the first news” he received. “It doesn’t ring a bell. In Andorra? My name? First news. I have never been to Belize,” he said on Tuesday. “I’m getting checked,” he added. But according to the investigation, the mayor of Badalona would not have had to travel to Central America for the paperwork since a small office in Andorra created in 1997 by Andbank acted as an intermediary firm and was in charge of processing the company.
In another call, he did admit the existence of the firm and affirmed that it was created by his family to open “business projects” and that it did not record any income. “In 2005, I decided with other people to see the possibility of writing company projects in Spain or abroad. I then had contacts in Central America, Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. It is true that [la firma] I was in Belize. It is a company that, at no time, has given me an economic return, an increase in assets. I have not charged a euro, “he said.
In a statement to the media released this Wednesday at noon, Albiol confirms that in 2005 “he accepted” to be granted the power “of a company that was going to undertake business projects”, although he points out that “this project was left without a path “. “I did not obtain returns, nor increase of patrimony, nor remunerations of any type. I never made use of that mercantile power”, has affirmed.
In addition, it disassociates the seizure of its political activity: “It was a power that responded solely and exclusively to the will to undertake business projects, but that were not carried out and that never generated any type of income or increase in assets.” Finally, Albiol concludes that he is “a serious and honest person”: “During all my years at the head of the mayor’s office, both myself and my government team have performed a very good management at the head of the city, from the deepest love for Badalona and to improve the day-to-day life of our neighbors. ”
In your last declaration of assets, of 2019, García Albiol reported owning three floors, two vehicles, bank accounts with 121,000 euros, 56,000 euros in shares and having a sailboat with a value of 80,000 euros.