Following the great success of the V street demonstration on September 11, a veteran judge of the high court – an open-minded, well informed progressive man – said in a private conversation: “I am surprised by how many people there were in Barcelona because I thought that after the Jordi Pujol news, the support for independence would have deflated.”
With the information we have so far, it is difficult to know to what extent the emergence of the Pujol case is coincidence or whether in some way the investigation was instigated when it was in order to distract attention from the ongoing sovereignty process. Whatever the case, Madrid has been keen to link the Catalan process with the Pujol case.
While it seems as if the allegations of corruption levelled at the Pujol i Ferrusola family are enveloped in plenty of dirty political tricks, it is not yet clear which, if any, offences were committed. However, that does not remove the need to ask the question why, after so many years of suspicion and rumour linked, for example, to the former president's son, it has taken so long for an investigation to get off the ground. Even a glance at the book, Ara sí que toca, written by journalist Francesc-Marc Álvaro, which was published back in 2003, provides enough evidence to raise questions about the business practices of some in the Pujol i Ferrusola family.
While the answer to that question remains a mystery, right now, an investigation has begun into the dealings of Jordi Pujol's three sons, Jordi, Oriol and Oleguer, while the patriarch himself, despite his confessions included in a letter from July 25, is still waiting to see if legal proceedings are to be brought against him. Only the investigation can now reveal whether it is a case of the sons taking things too far, under the influence of an ambitious mother, while the father failed to pay enough attention to what was going on around him, or whether we are dealing with an example of organised malfeasance with long-reaching consequences for the Convergència party.
In his appearance in parliament on September 26, Pujol was keen to make two things clear. The first was that he had done nothing wrong and that he himself is his harshest critic. The second he summarised thus: “I have not been a corrupt politician. I have never received money in exchange for making political or administrative decisions.”
How everything will play out remains to be seen.