November 5, 2021. On that date, the central investigative court 6 of the National Court, led by Judge Manuel García Castellón, informed Jordi Pujol Ferrusola that it had received his appeal against the instructor’s refusal to investigate Operation Catalunya. More than two years later, there is no evidence that the judge has resolved the appeal.
The procedural silence surrounding the petition of the former president’s eldest son is a new example of the resistance of the Spanish courts in investigating the maneuvers of the PP political brigade. The only exception was the most flagrant attempt to adulterate the Pujol case by the police, the one known as the ‘pendrive’ case, which was discovered by the National Court itself and ended in a conviction (now appealed before the Supreme Court) to former deputy operational director Eugenio Pino.
The Pujols’ first request for the Villarejo case to also investigate Operation Catalunya occurred on February 20, 2020. Given the lack of response, the defense insisted seven months later. Finally, in October 2021, Judge García Castellón, after requesting a report from the Police, refused to investigate the maneuvers of retired commissioner José Manuel Villarejo and the rest of the police officers accused in the Tandem case against the family, who are awaiting trial for the origin of the family fortune hidden in Andorra for decades.
In line with the theses of the Prosecutor’s Office, Judge García Castellón concluded that the informative notes in which Villarejo captured the movements and pressure in Andorra of the political brigade to obtain the Pujols’ bank details could be considered as “evidence of the commission of criminal acts to the detriment” of the family. But he refused to investigate them because, according to the judge, the events occurred in the Pyrenean principality.
The judge also argued that the information notes seized from the commissioner and written by him include his activity of “gathering information of police interest in relation to possible cases of corruption linked to the Pujol family, as well as obtaining information about accounts where in the In recent years, commissions have been received by the Pujol family.” As reported by elDiario.es, these notes have not appeared in the case of the members of the former president’s family, but they did serve to prepare the pseudo-reports that were published in the media coinciding with critical moments of the sovereignty process.
The judge’s refusal to investigate Operation Catalunya within the macro summary on the maneuvers of Villarejo and the rest of the PP political brigade contrasts with the more than 30 pieces opened in the case. Beyond covering a multitude of criminal acts allegedly committed by the commissioner, the case does investigate other uses of Police resources and staff to attack political rivals of the PP, such as the case of the theft of the mobile phone of a collaborator of Pablo Iglesias or to try to stop the conservative party’s corruption investigation in the Gürtel case by spying on its former treasurer Luis Bárcenas.
It should also be noted that the Pujol family has in Operation Catalunya one of the lines of defense for the trial for their fortune that they have been waiting for for years, but which still has no date. In view of this hearing, the defense of the former president of the Generalitat and his seven children have asked the National Court to declassify all the documents related to the parapolice maneuvers of the Ministry of the Interior under the Government of Mariano Rajoy against his political adversaries and that those responsible police testify as witnesses.
The appeal, from November 2021
In his appeal against García Castellón’s refusal, formulated before the instructor himself, the lawyer Albert Carrillo replicated the judge’s thesis and recalled that it is precisely the National Court that has powers to investigate crimes allegedly committed abroad by Spanish citizens.
Only the acquittal of the police officers investigated in Andorra for the maneuvers to obtain the family’s banking details in the BPA, the appeal argued, would close the way to investigate the PP political brigade in Spain. But in reality the opposite is happening: the procedure on Operation Catalunya in Andorra is still open but in a dead end due to the brakes by the Spanish Justice on the collaboration rogatory commissions requested by the principality’s judge.
Pujol Ferrusola’s appeal was registered in court on November 5, 2021. García Castellón’s support judge, Joaquín Gadea, gave the Prosecutor’s Office and the rest of the parties two days to present allegations to resolve the appeal once they were formulated. But nothing more is known about it more than two years later. García Castellón’s decision would be appealable before the Criminal Chamber of the National Court.