An Andorran judge has charged former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy; former ministers Cristóbal Montoro and Jorge Fernández Díaz; the former Secretary of State for Security Francisco Martínez; the former Director General of the Police Ignacio Cosidó; and two former members of the PP political brigade for alleged coercion of the Government of the principality and false documents to obtain the bank details of the BPA of the Pujol family as well as information on possible accounts in Andorra of independence leaders that turned out to be non-existent.
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In a rogatory commission sent to Spain, advanced by The Mon and to which elDiario.es has had access, the Andorran magistrate Stéphanie Garcia gives an unprecedented boost until now to the lawsuits filed by the Andorran Human Rights Institute (IDHA) and the group of jurists Drets and the former maximum shareholder of the BPA, Higini Cierco. Both complaints were registered in January 2017 and October 2016, respectively.
The rogatory commission is the vehicle for cooperation between judicial authorities of different countries. The Andorran magistrate requests the help of the Spanish Justice to locate Rajoy and the rest of the defendants, inform them that they are being investigated for up to half a dozen crimes of the Andorran Penal Code and require them to appoint a lawyer in the principality. If they don’t do it in 15 days, adds the judge, they will be assigned a court-appointed lawyer. The magistrate also leaves the door open to send another rogatory commission once the one sent on May 20 has been completed to finalize the judicial declaration of those investigated.
According to Drets and IDHA, the alleged coercion is part of the official visit that Rajoy and Montoro made in January 2015 in Andorra, when they met with the then Andorran head of government, Toni Martí, and the ministers Jordi Cinca, Gilbert Saboya and Jordi bedroom. The visit, according to the complainants, had the objective of obtaining information from the Catalan independence leaders.
In the opinion of both entities, the former heads of the PP Government “deployed a political strategy based on a falsehood [la investigación por blanqueo del BPA por parte de EE. UU.] created by the Executive of Rajoy so that the Government of Andorra took some concrete and irreversible decisions that have been detrimental to the banking image of the country and international credibility”.
Both entities targeted the former President of the Government and the former ministers after the Andorran Justice had already agreed to investigate the former head of the PP political brigade, the former Deputy Director of the Police Eugenio Pino, and his lieutenant, Inspector Bonifacio Díez.
The magistrate states in her rogatory commission that the complaints deal with “alleged extortion, coercion and blackmail carried out since 2014 by Spanish police officers against those responsible for BPA” with the aim of “knowing, through illegal means, secret banking information , protected by Andorran legislation, and related to different rulers of Catalonia and their relatives, among whom were Jordi Pujol, Artur Mas and Oriol Junqueras”.
In her resolution, the magistrate also attaches the literal citation of the articles of the six crimes of the Andorran Penal Code that are investigated: coercion, threats, blackmail, extortion, coercion of Andorran constitutional bodies and creation of an untrue document by an official, that is, documentary falsehood.
In Spain, the judge of the National High Court, José Manuel García Castellón, has refused to investigate Operation Catalunya in its entirety, alleging that Villarejo “captured information” about corruption. For now, the actions of the political brigade that nested under the PP government, and whose existence elDiario.es revealed in 2014, has resulted in Pino’s conviction for attempting to adulterate the Pujol case by attempting to introduce the investigation into the origin of the The family’s fortune hides in Andorra a flash drive with information on Jordi Pujol Ferrusola without warning that its origin was illicit.
The case in Andorra
The complaints in Andorra were admitted in 2018. When the judge summoned Inspector Celestino Barroso, Interior Attaché at the Spanish Embassy in Andorra between July 2014 and June 2017, the Spanish authorities responded that he was protected by diplomatic immunity. This was confirmed by the Government in a 2021 parliamentary response to the PDeCAT deputy Sergi Miquel, who asked about the Cierco brothers’ request to withdraw the immunity that protects Barroso from any investigation into his actions, carried out with Jorge Fernández Díaz as interior minister.
Higini Cierco pointed out Barroso before the investigating judge as one of the Spanish policemen who gave him the instructions regarding the accounts of the Pujols, but also of other alleged Artur Mas or Oriol Junqueras. Regarding the other two letters rogatory sent, the Spanish authorities responded that Pino had retired and that Díez Sevillano was stationed in Mexico, which left it uncompleted.
The IDHA and Drets consider that the action of the Spanish Government “to try to obtain the bank details of the Catalan pro-independence politicians was a full-fledged attack on Andorran sovereignty.” Both entities emphasize that Rajoy, when he visited Andorra to meet with the government of the principality, did so as president of the Spanish Executive and not as head of state, a figure reserved for the king according to the Spanish Constitution, with which the former president “is not protected by the immunity provided for in article 8 of the Andorran Penal Code, nor are its ministers and other political positions involved.