Andorra’s sewers

On August 24, 2014, the Consul General of the United States sent a letter to the then minister of Andorra, Gilbert Saboya, in which he demanded that Andorran banks apply controls on cash receipts. It explained how the Dutch mafia had entered 16 million euros into a bank in the square, which was not BPA. The language was harsh and threatening: “We urge the Andorran government”, “the U.S. urges you seriously”. The Andorran Government never reported on the communication from the Americans, everything was managed with the secrecy that would later be applied to the BPA case. A month after receiving the letter, Savoy responded to the American demands with an evasive and self-congratulatory response. The irresponsibility of the minister caused the anger of the Americans and resulted in the issuance of the note that destroyed BPA and forever weakened the Andorran financial sector.

Anton Smith, Economic Attaché at the American Embassy, repeatedly confirms this. In a conference, in May 2015, he said: “Last year we expressed our concern in Andorra through an official report to point out some errors identified by Moneyval regarding the performance of the system. They have not acted with the fluidity that we expected (he refers to to the government of Andorra) and that is why we took the hammer at the end”. Weeks later, in an email sent to his superiors, he declares: “A general procedure that was handed over to the Andorran authorities in August of last year motivated by concerns that finally led us to issue the 311 note.” Smith maintains that the cause of the devastating FINCEN note was the negligence of the government of Toni Martí, not another reason.

Last November, Francisco Martínez -then Secretary of State for the Interior of the Spanish Government- addressed a letter to the Head of Government of Andorra, Xavier Espot -never answered by him-, in which he stated that whoever led the Americans to act against BPA were the Andorran authorities. Among other things, he explains:

– “The origin of the intelligence underlying the FINCEN note is not its own sources or Spanish sources, but rather information provided directly from the Principality of Andorra, deliberately exaggerated or even manipulated.”

– “Said clearly: the intelligence compiled by FINCEN has its origin in Andorra and in the investigations carried out by the UIFAND”.

– “Such spurious interests were concentrated in the Principality of Andorra and pointed to the desire to show an exemplary reaction to the US authorities”

Martínez insists that, to satisfy the Americans enraged by Savoy’s reckless response, the Andorran authorities exaggerated and manipulated the information. They were deceived with cases already prosecuted and reported by the bank itself to the Andorran supervisory authorities, even resolved favorably for BPA.

Beyond the participation that the so-called patriotic police may have had, if Francisco Martínez’s statements are true, and I believe so, Andorra made BPA a scapegoat to save another bank or the financial market. Once the infamy was committed, those who deceived the Americans increased the accusations against BPA, setting themselves up as an example of decency and honesty. What cynicism of the head of the Andorran executive who, aware of the deception, puts himself on stage with ‘contained’ indignation to take the case to the prosecution and appear, later, as a civil actor. It is obscene to have imprisoned Joan Pau Miquel (ex-CEO of BPA) for almost two years and to have inflicted irreparable damage on the bank’s customers, employees and shareholders, knowing that the reason for all this was his passivity in the face of American threats. and in the hoax they perpetrated to calm US outrage.

If what Martínez says is true, and I do not doubt it, it is very serious -morally, ethically and legally- that the Andorran authorities have been prevaricating during these last eight years with secrecy, blaming the BPA environment and control over the institutions, and having prosecuted what they know stems from their own negligence and irresponsibility.

There is no worse crime than the abuse of power, the one exercised by the powerful, -with impunity- over the defenseless.

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