19 February 2021 in Dossier Tax Havens, Finance, Finance


It is a country that is a third the width of the city of London or Rome, half of Berlin. It has just over 60,000 inhabitants, a gross domestic product comparable to that of Burundi and Sierra Leone – and, moreover, it hides it in the safes of its banks on behalf of foreign clients. It is a series of valleys between the Pyrenees, whose capital, Andorra La Vella, is made of imposing castings of reinforced concrete, and whose streets are full of exchange offices and tobacco and watch shops, two hours away from Barcelona or Perpignan, where almost all cultural activities are concentrated in the parishes, which are still the center of social life today.

This country has been at the center of one of the worst financial and criminal scandals on the planet in the past decade – a scandal likely caused by a certain ease with which Andorran rulers deal with some of the world’s most dangerous gangsters – perhaps convinced that this the land of dwarves and fairies could protect them from consequences and revenge. Reality took Andorran bankers, politicians and citizens by surprise, and for a few weeks the situation seemed irreversible: the banks of the small country of the Pyrenees would close and disappear in a whirlwind of debt that would affect all the current accounts of each owner in a vortex and would make it destroy their lives – what everybody fears. Something that, once the government has found a solution, we must not forget this shame or consider it a trifle.

The proud people of the magic mountains

View of Andorra la Vella, the capital of Andorra[1]

Andorra is a place you can never imagine. It is so small – it is the sixth smallest country in Europe with an area of ​​468 km² and almost 60,000 inhabitants[2] – that it can be crossed from one border to another, for example along the CG- 2 for about 40 km, and it takes a little over forty minutes … but be aware that the journey winds along the road, uphill curve by curve, along mountainous and uninhabited peaks[3]. Andorra is located between the borders of France and Spain on the eastern belt of the Pyrenees and has an alpine climate: it grows 900 meters in the valley of Riu Runer at the top of Coma Pedrosa (2,942 meters). There is snow everywhere, to the delight of skiers who cover more than 300 km of equipped slopes.

From archaeological findings, it is known that humans found this place as early as 3500 BC, mostly living in caves or in valleys with a temperate climate[4]. Then centuries of isolation until Charlemagne discovered him – the one who is considered the founder of Andorra, as the national anthem “El Gran Carlemany” explains[5]: According to legend, the inhabitants of Andorra have helped the Franconian army in the fight against the Arabs led by Mark Almugaber and then King Charles, as a sign of gratitude, in 788 declared the inhabitants of Andorra “sovereign people[6]. The country remained part of the Carolingian Empire until its fall in 843, when King Charles II transferred Andorra to Count Sunifredo I of Barcelona – who acquired the title of Count of Cerdagna and Urgell[7].

During the 9th and 10th centuries, the dynasty of counts extended their properties in the Andorran valleys by buying, collecting and exchanging land. The fortune of the bishops of Urgell grew, in particular thanks to the donations of the nobles of Urgell, and the ecclesiastical power grew, symbol of stability, while all the nobles married and killed each other in bitter dynastic disputes, until ‘so that the De Foix family wins in the end[8].

On September 8, 1278, the Bishop of Urgell and the Count of Foix signed the Paréage Act, according to which Andorra received a double sovereignty: the count and the bishop are both princes of Andorra as long as they live outside the borders and hand over the executive power of Entertainment to their “pastors”[9]. Ten years later, on December 6, 1288, a second Paréage Act was signed by which Andorra would pay both Spain and France annual taxes – a treaty still in force today[10]. This means that Andorra is the oldest nation in Europe, with Switzerland only being born in 1291[11].

In 1419 Andorra received permission to form the District Government, later renamed Consell General: the most influential families would elect their representatives[12]. In the centuries that followed, Andorra retained its independence and neutral status, its inhabitants were exempt from military service and therefore not subject to the payment of military and commercial taxes.

November 1949, at the border between Andorra and Spain, as the principality’s main road was not yet paved and those heading to Barcelona walked for miles before reaching the Spanish bus[13]

Independence was only threatened during the French Revolution: in 1794, the Peréage Act was suspended by the revolutionaries, and in an attempt to arrest the Bishop of Urgell, the French troops marched in Andorra: the representatives of the valleys convinced the French general Chabrot to abandon the project[14]. Napoleon himself reinstated the Peréage Act. He said: “Andorra is a political oddity that must be preserved[15].

A small but bellicose people[16]: During World War I Andorra declared war on Imperial Germany, but did not take part in the fighting given the scarcity of resources – for this reason everyone forgot this declaration of war upon signing of the Treaty of Versailles, so that Andorra until 1939 remained in a state of formal war[17]. The Spanish Civil War also forgot the principality of the mountains: between 1936 and 1940 a division of the French armed forces was stationed in Andorra, which was later replaced by the invasion of France by a division of the Nazi Wehrmacht until at the end of World War II – but none of the armies on the ground ever threatened the city gates[18].

Therefore, the changes in the enchanted village take place very slowly. Democracy was not introduced in Andorra[19] until 1993 under the leadership of Francesc Areny Casal[20]. Even today, Andorra is, along with the Republic of San Marino, the only country in the world to have a diarchy: the two heads of state, also called co-princes, are officially President of the French Republic and Prince von Urgell. Both are represented by two delegates, have limited powers (they cannot veto government acts), but they retain their authority to approve agreements with France and Spain, as well as international agreements on the defense, internal security, territorial integrity, cooperation, diplomatic and judicial representation[21]. The unicameral parliament is made up of 28 members elected every four years, 14 of whom represent the national constituency and 14 represent the seven “parishes” (territorial administrative areas): the Parliament appoints the Prime Minister responsible for executive power[22].

The Andorran revolution and the smuggling boom

September 1933: French tanks guard the entrance to the FHASA offices after months of unrest. After the occupation of Casa Del Vall on April 5, citizens of Andorra show indifference[23]

The historical development as well as the geographical and political peculiarity give Andorra an inevitable fate – smuggling[24]: despite orders from border troops to shoot, there has been official evidence since 1907 that this economic activity has flourished as the basis of the protection system social of Andorra[25]. Agriculture and livestock have already fundamentally changed with the construction of the FHASA hydroelectric power station (Forces Hidroelèctriques d’Andorra SA) in 1930, an initiative of Catalan industrialists Damià Mateu Bisa and Miquel Mateu Pla[26], which shed light on the whole world (until then there was only electricity for a few hours a day, produced by the small hydroelectric power station of Mútua Eléctrica de Sant Julià de Lòria, built in 1913[27]), as well as running water and the first paved roads[28].

On March 27, 1929, the Consell General of FHASA granted a contract for the use of water resources in the villages of Escaldes and Sispony for 75 years: The agreement provides that FHASA creates in return all the necessary infrastructure. This is why FHASA employs 1,500 people from all over the Iberian Peninsula for a period of five years – in a principality of Andorra where only 3,500 people live[29].

This creates a climate of intolerance and discrimination and leads to vandalism which culminates on April 5, 1929 with the occupation of the government building (the Casa del Vell) by around 500 angry Andorrans who were then rejected by the French gendarmes: an act so extraordinary that it is still called today the “Andorran Revolution[30].

But now the roadblocks have been broken, the isolation is goodbye: thanks to the boom in smuggling and construction, favorable tax laws and the protection of bank secrecy, the inhabitants of Andorra have more than increased tenfold in the past 90 years, and the number of immigrants increased all the more as the families of origin became a small minority[31].

A minority with its own pride and traditions: the patron saint of smugglers is Satan himself, who one day rides a stallion on the Canillo mule track (built by smugglers in Napoleon’s time) and loses control: the horse falls into a ravine, the devil clings to the side of the road with his claws and leaves eternal traces which are today the monument of the contraband of the Roca de la Salve, in which are engraved the claws of the devil[32].

At the end of World War II, dozens of huts were opened on the winding sheep tracks where one goes on horseback or motorbike (there are still no asphalt roads in Andorra), in which bolts , fabrics, wood and cotton, cigarettes, watches, boxes of meat and soup, shoes, wine, electrical appliances and groceries are sold. Not a secret trade, but a real cultural tradition, part of which actually takes place in Barcelona, ​​Huesca or Lleida: there, Andorran dealers sell French cars with Andorran license plates bought in Perpignan in the middle of the price for which they are resold in Spain[33].

How the ferryman became a banker

June 1949: Shortly after the border, at the crossroads with the smugglers’ mule track, Andorran housewives buy bracelets, clothes, fruit and cigarettes as soon as they get off the bus[34]

The population explosion and the start of new industrial and commercial activities (in addition to the smuggling boom) also brought banks to the principality: in 1930, the patriot and visionary Manuel Cerqued opened the first branches of the Banc Agricol i Commercial of Andorra (BACA)[35]. BACA obtains the status of concession bank for anyone who follows in its footsteps and is therefore exempt from any tax burden, while any other bank that receives a license must pay a tax rate of 5% on its transactions to be redistributed between the Consell Général and the concessionary bank. As Andorra does not have its own currency and the institutions have no control over the currency in circulation, BACA and Consell General decide, following Liechtenstein (1926), to be the second country in the world to introduce banking secrecy[36]. This primacy persisted even though BACA changed its name to Andbank after taking over Reig Bank in 2001[37].

In 1934, the Consell General approved the opening of a branch of La Caixa de Pensions de Barcelona[38], ​​which, as a foreign bank, was only authorized to manage savings accounts[39]. This is good for smugglers: between 1931 and 1947, this sector becomes absolutely hegemonic in the Andorran economy due to the civil war and the German occupation of France[40].

Between 1936 and 1937, the war led Spain to financial collapse, fueled by runaway inflation and a chronic lack of liquidity – so that the Consell General brought a significant amount of pesetas to the Iberian market in exchange for tobacco, leather, wool, tires and spare parts for cars and trucks were borrowed[41]. With the occupation by the Nazis, there is a boom in foreign exchange activities as many French people are on the run. These two factors are driving the growth of bank deposits at an average annual rate of almost 25%[42].

Lluís Aymat d’Encamp, Jane Huillier and Josep Josa d’Escaldes[43] have been running a bureau de change with Banca Cassany since 1937, and Le Comptoir Andorran de Change was born in 1938[44]. In 1949, with the end of the civil war and the World War II, currency restrictions imposed by many European countries forced Andorran banks to operate only through Swiss banks. The new exchange controls make trade with France and Spain more difficult, resulting in a drastic reduction in bank deposits and increasingly leaving the survival of the local economy in the hands of smugglers[45].

This loss of sovereignty does not come without suffering. The need to defend the closed system is becoming more and more urgent: at the end of 1949, Bonaventura Riberaygua Argelich[46], shareholder of BACA since 1935 and secretary general of the General Consel, obtains the authorization to found Crèdit Andorrà, of which he is the sole owner, and appoints his son Ramon Riberaygua Esteve as chairman of the board[47]. Crèdit Andorrà will take over 100% of the Andorran branch of Caixabank in 2005 and sell 46.35% of its shares to other Andorran citizens in the following year[48].

May 1949: Car used by cigarette traffickers offers its goods to residents of Andorra la Vella[49]

However, the changes imposed by the international banking system continue to have undesirable effects: in 1950, following a dispute, the Andorran justice suspended the right of the BACA to collect 5% on transactions carried out by other institutions on the ground – decision which was then ratified by the Consell General[50], which itself cancels the previous banking regulations and tries to introduce measures of financial protectionism: a) the obligation to pay one million pesetas during the creation of a new bank; b) the obligation for each new bank to be exclusively Andorran citizen; c) for the others, the quota of foreign shareholders cannot exceed one third of the share capital[51].

On April 21, 1956, the Banca Reig[52] (founded by Julià Reig Ribó[53]) opened its doors; In September 1956, Banca Mora started its activity[54]. In the same year, Banca Cassany changed from a bureau de change to a universal bank, and BIM Banc Immobiliari i Mercantil was also born[55]. In 1958, the Banca Coma (founded by Josep Coma Maestre[56]) came into operation. In all these new institutions, the presence of foreign capital was masked by the protection of certain leading figures, which is why the government decided in 1957 to suspend banking licenses ad libitum[57].

In the years that followed, the financial center grew thanks to the merger of existing institutions such as Banca Privada d’Andorra SA, born in 1993 from the merger of Banca Cassany and Caixa de Catalunya[58]. In order to monitor this development, a supervisory authority has been created, the AFA Autoritat Financera Andorrana, which has so far authorized the following banks[59]: a) Andorra Banc Agrícol Reig, founded in August 2001 after the merger of BACA Agrícol i Comercial Bank of Anorra and Banca Reig[60]; b) Banc Sabadell d’Andorra, founded in 2000 with an alliance between the Spanish group Banc Sabadell and a consortium of Andorran entrepreneurs[61]; c) Crèdit Andorrà, founded in 1949[62]; d) Mora Banc Grup, founded in 1949 under the name Banca Coma and renamed Banc Internacional d’Andorra in 1970 and Mora Banc Group in November 2011[63]; e) Vall Banc, founded in June 2015 as a “bad company” to deal with the losses of BPA Banca Privada d’Andorra after the scandals involved, which in 2016 was taken over by JC Flowers[64].

In 2006, thanks to an agreement with the European Union, Andorra entered the euro zone and the Schengen Treaty[65] and was forced to harmonize its legal system with that of the banking and financial sector in Brussels[66]. There will also be important steps towards banking transparency: in 2015, Andorra will be the 48th signatory of the OECD declaration[67] on the automatic exchange of information on tax matters[68], the obligation to end banking secrecy and acceptance of tax prosecution rules by money launderers from other countries[69].

The principality will carry out the first exchange of sensitive data with 41 countries in 2017. In 2019, the information was transmitted to 73 jurisdictions, reaching 95 requests in 2020[70]. Despite this, Andorra remains a privileged destination: the general tax rate for companies and individuals is 10%, and the income of foreigners, which is only taxed at 10%, will continue to make Andorra a tax haven[71].

The descent into hell of the Banca Privada de Andorra

The facade of a branch of Banca Privada de Andorra

BPA Banca Privada d´Andorra, owned by the Cierco family and chaired by Higini Cierco Noguer[72], is a point of reference for thousands of investors with offices in Uruguay, Luxembourg, Spain and Panama[73]. With the acquisition of Banco Madrid in 2011, BPA became the first institution to have a Spanish banking license[74] that emerged unscathed from the European sovereign debt crisis that began in 2010 and ended in 2013 with assets of 20.5 million euros[75]. In 2015, Oriol Ribas, vice president of Andbank, said in an interview with the New York Times: “The 2008 crisis has been a kind of blessing for Andorra. Many foreign customers came to see us because they were disgusted with what their banks had sold them”[76].

From what will be known later, these customers are more likely to be attracted to the bank’s position to question the limits of legality. On March 10, 2015, the Andorran banking sector was rocked by a major scandal: FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement), the US Treasury office which collects and analyzes information on financial transactions, national and international money laundering, financing of terrorism and other financial crimes to be combated[77], publishes a document[78] in which it reads: “The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (…) has today defined the BPA Banca Privada d’Andorra as a foreign financial institution of primary importance for money laundering (…) For several years, BPA officials have knowingly facilitated transactions on behalf of money launderers on behalf of transnational criminal organizations[79]”.

The final report by FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery leaves no doubt: “BPA’s corrupt financial officials and weak anti-money laundering controls have made BPA an easily accessible tool for managing the system. financial for money launderers and for the proceeds of organized crime, corruption and human trafficking from the EU to the US (…). Today’s announcement is a critical step in combating the overt behavior of this compromised financial institution and sending the message that the United States will take strong action to protect the integrity of its financial system from criminal actors”[80].

FinCEN’s detailed allegations against BPA are very serious: A member of the BPA leadership allegedly dealt with Andrei Petrov[81], a money launderer who works for Russian criminal organizations and is suspected of having links to the Russian gangster Semion Mogilevich, one of the ten most wanted criminals by the FBI[82]. and a business partner of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump[83]. A second director has reportedly accepted exorbitant fees for shell companies devising a money laundering scheme for Venezuelan criminals and complex financial products to steal funds from Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA Petroleos de Venezuela for around $ 2 billion[84].

A third director is said to have accepted bribes in exchange for economic transactions for a Chinese criminal and art dealer, Gao Ping, who was arrested in 2012 for money laundering and human trafficking in connection with the Spanish police operation known as Operation Emperor. The corresponding minutes include more than a hundred employees of a Chinese organization operating in Spain[85], whose main operator is a Swiss employee of HSBC Bank, Marc Pérez[86], and Belgian financier François Leiser[87].

The house of cards begins to fall apart

The presidents of BPA, the brothers Higini and Ramon Cierco and their general manager Joan Pau Miquel

The news panics BPA customers who, for fear of bankruptcy, are trying to save money by going to branches[88]. The attack brings the bank to its knees and is curbed by the immediate intervention of the authorities, which prohibit withdrawing more than € 2,500 per person[89] and block all transfers abroad[90]. This is a drastic but necessary measure because the failure of the BPA would have resulted in the failure of the entire Andorran nation. At the same time, Banco Madrid, the 100% subsidiary of BPA, which has a board of directors independent of the parent company and is subject to the supervision of the Bank of Spain, is being searched by the Spanish authorities[91]: in May 2014, Banco Madrid managed 5.35 billion euros, or 60% of the deposits of the BPA group[92].

The whole Banco Madrid’s board of directors is withdrawing “to protect the interests of employees and customers” in order to facilitate the action of inspectors[93]. Until the resignation, this board of directors is composed of: José Pérez Fernández, president and former director of the supervisory board of the Bank of Spain; Joan Pau Miquel Prats, Chairman of the Board of Directors; Higini Cierco Noguer and Ramón Cierco Noguer (both members of the family of majority shareholders of BPA); Ricard Climent Meca; Soledad Núñez Ramos, former Director General of the Ministry of Finance, and Secretary Rodrigo Achirica Ortega[94]. It should not be forgotten that Banco Madrid had made the news shortly before, thanks to the “Pujol affair”, the fraud of 1.3 million euros committed by a family of the Catalan aristocracy[95].

The government and the people are shaken with fear. Andorran Prime Minister Antoni Martí immediately referred the case to the Andorran Attorney General and the Financial Supervisory Authority, appointing commissioners to ensure the continuity of the company’s normal business operations, protect its clients and protect the reputation and the integrity of the market and of the Andorran community[96]. For its part, BPA specifies that “the Board of Directors will continue its functions and will open an internal investigation[97].

On the American front, FinCEN decides to force the Andorran banking system to adopt very strict regulations (NPRM) or two measures to limit the “operational capacity” of BPA in order to prohibit North American companies from engaging or maintain transactions with BPA and initiate additional monitoring steps[98].

On March 12, 2015, the INAF (Instituto Nacional Andorrano de Finanzas) suspended BPA’s board of directors, the chairman of the board and two other senior executives, and appointed independent auditors to take full control of BPA[99]. On March 13, 2015, Andorran law enforcement arrested the head of the BPA, Joan Pau Miquel Prats, for money laundering[100]. The AFA Autoritat Financera Andorrana imposed four fines on Higini Cierco Noguer totaling 223,000 euros, together with a permanent ban from exercising any function in an Andorran company[101]. A move that eased tensions with the United States so much that FinCEN declared that “BPA as an institution that launders dirty money is no longer a major concern[102].

However, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch downgrade the country’s rating with a negative rating to BBB (lower average quality)[103]. A disaster. For this reason, the Andorran Parliament adopted a banking restructuring and resolution law in April 2015 and created the Agència Estatal de Resolució d’Entitats Bancàries (AREB): an agency that will take control of COP on April 27, 2015[104]. Three months later, AREB approved a liquidation plan to unbundle the “bad” companies (assets, liabilities and customers) from BPA, while transferring the “good” part to a bridge bank. Vall Banc was born in July 2015[105], 100% controlled by AREB, registered with INAF and regulated by the Andorran Banking Authority to play the role of a “bad company”[106].

The entrance to the BPA headquarters in Andorra la Vella

In May 2015, the Cierco brothers, majority shareholders of BPA, tried through the North American law firm Lewis Baach to oppose the action of FinCEN by trying to rehabilitate the institute and identified some possible procedural errors in the investigation: the law firm submitted a report to Jennifer Shasky, who initially regrets that the authors were never contacted by FinCEN itself or by another US research institution before that action is not taken. In this way, the American authorities would have hastily and wrongly rendered a judgment that was not based on concrete evidence: on the contrary, according to the American law firm, it would have been enough to contact the bank or the bank management. and Andorran[107]. The authorities, who have already been investigating the four suspected cases for years, have instead decided “to have a huge impact on the 1,000 employees in their 34 branches and with more than 25,000 depositors[108].

In short, according to the Ciercos family, FinCEN abused its power and behaved illegally[109]. The allegations by Manuel Verela, a lawyer for the law firm Lewis Baach, also target the Principality of government, which has endangered the bank and the entire company and the Andorran people by not disclosing the details[110] of the Pwc audit[111] and an agreed solution avoided[112]. At the same time, the Ciercos brothers are negotiating with the government compensation for the bank’s expropriation, which amounts to 375 million euros and corresponds to 75% of the value of their property before the crisis[113]. All this while the principality is working without success on the sale of Vall Banc, for the moment.

In November 2016, prosecutor Carlos García-Berro, who is handling the bankruptcy of Banco Madrid, confirmed that the fault lies with the bank directors who ignored the laundering practices of Russian and Chinese criminals, and therefore not with the American authorities, who sounded the alarm, or those creditors who, frightened, debited 124 million euros from their accounts in just three days[114]. The judge demands the conviction of the management and property of the bank and that she is not entitled to compensation, but must return the money from her own pockets and be banned from any financial activity for five years[115].

Another judge, Carlos Nieto, expresses a different opinion: the two main shareholders of BPA, the brothers Ramón and Higini Cierco, as well as the former chairman of the board of directors Joan Pau Miquel, must be acquitted because “there is no there is not a single proof of the responsibility of BPA Bank or its directors in a situation of bankruptcy[116]. The sale of Vall Banc will finally take place in March 2016 and will be officially sealed in July[117], when New York investment firm JC Flowers & Co. (JCF) the “good” portion of BPA for € 29 million[118].

April 5, 2019: Hundreds of Venezuelan citizens plunged into poverty by the BPA-PDVSA scandal attack abandoned trash cans belonging to the Chinese company that defrauded the Caracas government and the local population[119]

JCF is owned by Californian billionaire James Christopher Flowers[120]. A man who has had behind him many unscrupulous financial transactions, especially in Spain: with the JCF, he has constantly tried to buy a bank in recent years without ever having received the approval of the Madrid authorities[121] – because he is still pursuing the same speculation: to acquire institutes in full crisis at prices defying all competition[122]. The reason is obvious: James Christopher Flowers himself describes his business model as a “very bad dancer” who dances on the graves of the dead[123].

This time it’s different. The Andorran authorities are really desperate and, according to the Ciercos brothers, sell Vall Banc “at the cost of bankruptcy“: initially 7.5 million euros and the promise of new injections of liquidity if they become necessary due to the economic development of the region. bank[124]. It is not an easy bet: JCF has only six months to guarantee a nominal share capital of 125 million euros. The only conceivable way is therefore to sell assets[125].

That’s not all. In September 2018, the Ciercos brothers filed a complaint for alleged fraud of more than 80 million euros in connection with the transfer of BPA and Vall Banc and then the sale to JCF[126]. About twenty people were among the accused, including executives from the Andorran public administration, executives from Vall Banc and JC Flowers[127]. The allegation is domination, unfaithful administration and money laundering: AREB (l’Agència Estatal de Resolució d’Entitats Bancàries d’Andorra) in the spin-off of BPA would have illegally transferred 70 million euros from BPA at Vall Banc so that the latter with the issuance of bonds could have started, which can be converted into shares of the same amount[128].

According to the indictment, there are 96.5 million initial deposits in the financial statements of Vall Banc at the time of the opening of the offices … where did this additional 26.5 million euros come from? According to the appraisals commissioned by Ciercos, JC Flowers did not pay more than 15 million euros for the purchase of Vall Banc, which translated into an additional loss of 55 million euros – as many transactions as JCF illegally enriched with the complicity of two agencies: this AREB and the National Institute of Finance of Andorra[129].

Too small to dare to do justice

March 15, 2018: The Andorran people take to the streets to protest against government policies. This is accused of making citizens pay for the BPA disaster with tax and administrative reform[130]

The courts are still working. It is a series of cumbersome procedures which are further slowed down by the fact that several Andorran judges (in a country with so few inhabitants, of course) are rejected due to obvious conflicts of interest and suspicion of tolerance[131]: a merry-go-round, in which each section of the court obtains the annulment of the judgments[132] of the previous one. A merry-go-round in which the highest authorities of the state, such as the former head of government Antoni Martí, participate[133].

Other powerful men will be brought to justice with him, such as the former Minister of Finance Jordi Cinca, who is however already involved in a case of smuggling gold and diamonds with the Orfund group under the South American drugs[134]: the owner of the mining industry Juan Samarra Naudi, which in 1999 was a gold refinery opened in Andorra, supposed to process metal from ghost mines in West Africa[135] and which was allegedly betrayed by the Andorran government[136]. With him, former Foreign Minister Gilbert Saboya and the former leaders of the Andorran Banking Authority (AFA) are on trial for the BPA scandal[137].

The processes take place amid twists and turns: wiretapping, deletions, rumors, threatening calls in progress – no one in this tiny state seems honest enough or powerful enough to stay out of the massive mud fight to make it happen. in essence[138], when, in February 2021, the EFE Agency, the Institute of Drets Humans d’Andorra and the Drets Agency requested criminal proceedings against former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and all his ministers[139].

However, there is skepticism about the possibility of clear and satisfactory sanctions: in a country where banks manage total assets that exceed 17 times the national GDP, the hope of transparency, fairness and government control is an issue. chimera. For this reason, despite years of effort and compromise, Andorra is still on the OECD blacklist – those who define rogue states as those that are unreliable and do not guarantee fairness or compliance. legal, nor respect for customers[140]. Andorra is too small to be able to afford to play properly on the big green table of international finance, and after all, no one in these forgotten valleys and mountains really wants it. They, the children and grandchildren of smugglers a century ago, are proud of their origins.


[1] https://unsplash.com/photos/htxYtc81yxA

[2] https://ugeo.urbistat.com/AdminStat/it/fr/demografia/dati-sintesi/andorra/998/2

[3] http://www.deagostinigeografia.it/wing/wing-mappe.jsp?idpaese=005

[4] http://www.madrerussia.com/storia-di-andorra-e-di-come-un-russo-ne-divenne-il-re/

[5] https://www.hymne-national.com/en/national-anthem-andorra/

[6] http://www.andorramania.com/histoire_gb.htm

[7] https://blogs.udima.es/historia/capitulo-10-liechtenstein-y-andorra-los-principados-alpino-pirenaicos/

[8] https://www.paesionline.it/panoramica-andorra/cultura

[9] http://www.madrerussia.com/storia-di-andorra-e-di-come-un-russo-ne-divenne-il-re/

[10] https://www.cultura.ad/historia-d-andorra

[11] https://www.lexilogos.com/declaration/suisse_patto_federale.htm

[12] https://it.linkfang.org/wiki/Consell_General_d%27Andorra

[13] https://www.international-club-andorra.com/andorra-club-intercomm/andorra-history-stories/incredible-andorra-national-geographic-august-1949/

[14] http://cdigital.dgb.uanl.mx/la/1080012304/1080012304.PDF (“Historia de la Republica De Andorra” – D. Luis Dalmau De Baquer – 1849 – pg. 26)

[15] http://cdigital.dgb.uanl.mx/la/1080012304/1080012304.PDF (“Historia de la Republica De Andorra” – D. Luis Dalmau De Baquer – 1849 – pg. 32)

[16] Fernando De los Ríos y Urruti, “Vida e instituciones del pueblo de Andorra. Una supervivencia señorial”, Sydney 2018

[17] http://www.newsandsociety.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=143:tra-i-pirenei-il-principato-di-andorra&catid=2:dallestero&Itemid=11

[18] http://www.newsandsociety.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=143:tra-i-pirenei-il-principato-di-andorra&catid=2:dallestero&Itemid=11

[19] https://www.giurcost.org/studi/Andorra.pdf

[20] http://www.consellgeneral.ad/ca/arxiu/arxiu-de-lleis-i-textos-aprovats-en-legislatures-anteriors/ii-legislatura-1997-2001/consellers-generals-del-1997-2001/francesc-areny-casal-1

[21] https://www.setupandorra.com/en/news/the-guide-of-the-political-organizations-and-government-of-the-principality-of/

[22] https://www.setupandorra.com/en/news/the-guide-of-the-political-organizations-and-government-of-the-principality-of/

[23] https://serhistorico.net/2020/09/20/huelga-en-los-valles-la-cnt-en-la-revolucion-de-andorra-de-1933-miguel-g-gomez/

[24] Maria Jesús Lluelles Larrosa, “La transformació econòmica d’Andorra”, in “Treballs de la Societat Catalana de Geografia”, vol. 64, Societat catalana de Geografia, Barcelona 1997, pages 71-88 – see also in https://www.raco.cat/index.php/TreballsSCGeografia/article/view/157501/209392

[25] http://www.biblioteca.uma.es/bbldoc/tesisuma/16277041.pdf “Evoluciòn politica de Andorra (1931-1939)” Universidad de Màlaga – (Tesis papa optar al grado de doctor de Jean Louis Hague Roma Dirigida por el Profesor Doctor D.Antonio Nadal Sanchez)

[26] http://diposit.ub.edu/dspace/bitstream/2445/61268/1/E14-317_Galabert.pdf

[27] http://www.mutuaelectrica.com/es/historia/

[28] https://www.bondia.ad/cultura/1933-la-republica-que-quasi-va-ser

[29] https://www.cultura.ad/feda

[30]  https://serhistorico.net/2020/09/20/huelga-en-los-valles-la-cnt-en-la-revolucion-de-andorra-de-1933-miguel-g-gomez/

[31] https://www.sapere.it/enciclopedia/Andorra.html

[32] Lawrence L. Klingman, “Incredible Andorra”, in “National Geographic Magazine”, vol. 96, National Geographic Society, London, August 1949

[33] Lawrence L. Klingman, “Incredible Andorra”, in “National Geographic Magazine”, vol. 96, National Geographic Society, London, August 1949

[34] https://www.international-club-andorra.com/andorra-club-intercomm/andorra-history-stories/incredible-andorra-national-geographic-august-1949/

[35] https://elpais.com/diario/2005/03/20/negocio/1111327411_850215.html

[36] http://diposit.ub.edu/dspace/bitstream/2445/61268/1/E14-317_Galabert.pdf

[37] http://www.opencms.org/en/modules/reference_sites/references_00012.html

[38] https://www.caixabank.fr/historyoflacaixa_es.html

[39] https://revistes.ub.edu/index.php/HistoriaIndustrial/article/viewFile/21304/23146

[40] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-17028396 ; https://revistes.ub.edu/index.php/HistoriaIndustrial/article/viewFile/21304/23146

[41] https://www.yumpu.com/es/document/read/62928760/mavm-cataleg-flipbook-web

[42] http://diposit.ub.edu/dspace/bitstream/2445/61268/1/E14-317_Galabert.pdf

[43] http://diposit.ub.edu/dspace/bitstream/2445/61268/1/E14-317_Galabert.pdf

[44] https://www.morabanc.ad/en/who-are-we/about-us/a-homely-bank/

[45] http://diposit.ub.edu/dspace/bitstream/2445/61268/1/E14-317_Galabert.pdf

[46] Aristocratico, latifondista e scrittore di saggi catalano, autore del più importante lavoro storico sul Principato, “Les Valls d’Andorra”, del 1946 – see also in https://www.iberlibro.com/buscar-libro/titulo/les-valls-d-andorra-recull-documental/autor/bonaventura-riberaygua-argelich/

[47] http://diposit.ub.edu/dspace/bitstream/2445/61268/1/E14-317_Galabert.pdf

[48] https://www.eleconomistaamerica.pe/empresas-finanzas/noticias/70419/09/06/La-Caixa-vende-su-4635-en-Credit-Andorra-por-927-millones-de-euros.html

[49] https://www.international-club-andorra.com/andorra-club-intercomm/andorra-history-stories/incredible-andorra-national-geographic-august-1949/

[50] http://diposit.ub.edu/dspace/bitstream/2445/61268/1/E14-317_Galabert.pdf pag. 13

[51] http://diposit.ub.edu/dspace/bitstream/2445/61268/1/E14-317_Galabert.pdf pag. 13, 14

[52] http://diposit.ub.edu/dspace/bitstream/2445/61268/1/E14-317_Galabert.pdf pag. 14

[53] Uno dei più famosi uomini politici di Andorra che, nei suoi anni a capo del governo, è stato autore delle leggi sul suffragio universale e sull’introduzione del sistema sociale e pensionistico – https://www.fundaciojuliareig.ad/el-fundador/

[54] http://diposit.ub.edu/dspace/bitstream/2445/61268/1/E14-317_Galabert.pdf pag. 14

[55] http://diposit.ub.edu/dspace/bitstream/2445/61268/1/E14-317_Galabert.pdf pag. 14

[56] Un famoso contrabbandiere di farina e caffè, la cui azienda di importazione agroalimentare è ancora tra le più grandi del paese – http://www.magatzemscoma.com/valors-filosofia/

[57] https://revistes.ub.edu/index.php/HistoriaIndustrial/article/viewFile/21304/23146

[58] http://diposit.ub.edu/dspace/bitstream/2445/61268/1/E14-317_Galabert.pdf pag. 23

[59] https://www.afa.ad/ca/entitats-supervisades/entitats-financeres/entitats-bancaries/registre-dentitats-autoritzades

[60] www.andbank.com

[61] https://www.bsandorra.com/cs/Satellite/BSAndorra/

[62] www.creditandorra.ad

[63] www.morabanc.ad

[64] www.vallbanc.ad

[65] https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/jorf/id/JORFTEXT000000229407?r=lg6gdvuNgY

[66] https://web.archive.org/web/20120401131221/http://www.ceps.eu/ceps/download/1398 ; https://web.archive.org/web/20150208210833/http://www.diariandorra.ad/index.php?option=com_k2&id=38445&view=item&Itemid=380 ; https://web.archive.org/web/20130822005234/http://www.andorra-euro.com/en/news1.html ; https://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/118458.pdfhttps://web.archive.org/web/20131004224909/http://www.amisdeleuro.org/news.php?news_id=603&lg=fr ; https://web.archive.org/web/20131218173450/http://www.diariandorra.ad/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=29709&Itemid=380

[67] https://www.state.gov/reports/2019-investment-climate-statements/andorra/

[68] http://www.oecd.org/mcm/MCM-2014-Declaration-Tax.pdf

[69] https://www.lowtax.net/news/Andorra-Signs-Multilateral-Competent-Authority-Agreement-69858.html

[70] https://www.taxathand.com/article/10535/OECD/2018/Andorra-and-San-Marino-sign-CbC-MCAA

[71] https://thebanks.eu/articles/international-banking-in-Andorra

[72] https://www.elperiodico.com/es/economia/20150310/andorra-interviene-el-banco-bpa-por-presunto-blanqueo-de-dinero-4006738

[73] https://www.linkedin.com/company/banca-privada-andorra/about/

[74] https://www.expansion.com/2010/03/17/empresas/banca/1268861687.html

[75] https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/11/business/international/andorra-follows-up-on-us-inquiry-by-cracking-down-on-bpa.html

[76]  https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/11/business/international/andorra-follows-up-on-us-inquiry-by-cracking-down-on-bpa.html

[77] https://www.fincen.gov/

[78] https://www.fincen.gov/sites/default/files/news_release/20150310.pdf

[79] https://www.fincen.gov/sites/default/files/shared/BPA_NPRM.pdf

[80] https://www.fincen.gov/news/news-releases/fincen-names-banca-privada-dandorra-foreign-financial-institution-primary-money

[81] https://www.abc.es/espana/abci-juez-procesa-mafioso-ruso-andrei-petrov-blanqueo-capitales-201607211619_noticia.html

[82] https://archive.org/details/SEMIONMOGILEVICH1996 ; https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/topten/topten-history/hires_images/FBI-494-SemionMogilevich.jpg/view ; https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/topten/ten-most-wanted-fugitives-faq/ten-most-wanted-401-500

[83] https://web.archive.org/web/20041109154007/http://www.volny.cz/vyber_cr/vyber2/pribeh_muze.html ; https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/3608-litvinenko-ties-putin-to-crime-lord-from-beyond-grave ; https://jamestown.org/program/the-strange-ties-between-semion-mogilevich-and-vladimir-putin/#.VHvc3aTF_pA ; https://www.thedailybeast.com/mueller-reveals-new-manafort-link-to-organized-crime ; https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-heffernan-simpson-russia-testimony-20180114-story.html

[84] https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-45517316

[85] https://elpais.com/espana/2020-07-08/el-juez-propone-juzgar-a-105-personas-por-formar-parte-de-la-macrotrama-criminal-liderada-por-gao-ping.html ; https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/icbc-spain-chinese/ ; https://elpais.com/politica/2012/12/22/actualidad/1356194869_721251.html ; https://www.elconfidencial.com/espana/2020-07-08/juez-propone-juzgar-105-personas-macrorred-criminal-gao-ping_2673487/ ; https://www.rtve.es/noticias/20121022/red-criminal-del-caso-emperador-implicada-matrimonios-concertados-extorsion-prostitucion/571321.shtml ; https://www.huffingtonpost.es/2013/02/11/la-fiscalia-anticorrupcion-primas-rey_n_2664133.html ; https://www.publico.es/politica/cloacas-interior-audiencia-nacional-rechaza-recurso-gao-ping-impedir-juicio-operacion-emperador.html ; https://www.abc.es/espana/20130513/abci-fugan-principales-colaboradores-ping-201305131237.html?ref=https:%2F%2Fes.wikipedia.org%2F ; https://elpais.com/politica/2012/10/16/actualidad/1350381208_734989.html ; https://elpais.com/politica/2012/10/18/actualidad/1350590711_935588.html ; https://elpais.com/politica/2017/05/08/actualidad/1494258598_464134.html ; https://elpais.com/politica/2013/02/11/actualidad/1360616503_249127.html ; https://elpais.com/politica/2013/04/16/actualidad/1366101924_253311.html

[86] https://www.eldiario.es/politica/audiencia-nacional-encarcelar-blanqueo-capitales_1_4826492.html

[87] https://elpais.com/espana/2020-09-23/el-presunto-blanqueador-vip-de-la-trama-de-gao-ping-intenta-librarse-del-juicio.html

[88] https://www.wikiwand.com/ca/Banca_Privada_d%27Andorra

[89] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-markets-saft-idUSKBN0MD0BE20150317

[90] https://www.imolaoggi.it/2015/03/17/scandalo-riciclaggio-di-denaro-usa-alla-banca-dandorra-e-corsa-agli-sportelli/

[91] https://elpais.com/economia/2015/03/10/actualidad/1426016311_431608.html?rel=mas

[92] https://www.elblogsalmon.com/entorno/el-banco-de-espana-interviene-el-banco-de-madrid

[93] https://www.lavanguardia.com/economia/20150311/54428924315/dimite-consejo-administracion-banco-madrid.html

[94] https://www.lavanguardia.com/economia/20150311/54428924315/dimite-consejo-administracion-banco-madrid.html

[95] https://dirigentesdigital.com/hemeroteca/banco_madrid_confiesa_a_dirigentes_las_cuentas_de_los_pujol-JBDD19281

[96] https://elpais.com/economia/2015/03/10/actualidad/1426004884_146211.html

[97] https://elpais.com/economia/2015/03/10/actualidad/1426004884_146211.html

[98] https://www.fincen.gov/sites/default/files/shared/BPA_NPRM.pdf

[99] https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/03/04/2016-04767/financial-crimes-enforcement-network-withdrawal-of-finding-regarding-banca-privada-dandorra

[100] https://apnews.com/article/archive-29ab35f6122e4c9992f5afff9d3d202c

[101] https://www.afa.ad/en/entitats-supervisades/sancions-a-entitats-supervisades/entity-person-mr-higini-cierco-noguer

[102] https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/03/04/2016-04767/financial-crimes-enforcement-network-withdrawal-of-finding-regarding-banca-privada-dandorra

[103] https://www.ladepeche.fr/article/2015/03/17/2068465-l-andorre-sous-la-surveillance-des-agences-de-notation.html

[104] https://www.areb.ad/images/areb/comunicats/27042015_AREB_ENG.pdf

[105] https://vallbanc.ad/es/vall-banc

[106] https://www.areb.ad/images/areb/comunicats/15062015_AREB_ENG.pdf

[107] https://www.elperiodic.ad/noticia/43898/els-germans-cierco-neguen-cap-contacte-amb-el-fincen-abans-de-la-nota

[108] https://www.elperiodic.ad/noticia/43898/els-germans-cierco-neguen-cap-contacte-amb-el-fincen-abans-de-la-nota

[109] https://www.elperiodic.ad/entrevista/50307/manuel-varela-el-govern-sempre-ens-ha-rebutjat-o-ignorat-per-negociar

[110] https://www.rtve.es/noticias/20160308/auditoria-detecta-1000-millones-sospechosos-blanqueo-capitales-banca-privada-dandorra/1315380.shtml

[111] https://www.pwc.ad/ad/coneixnos.html

[112] https://cronicaglobal.elespanol.com/business/el-abogado-de-los-cierco-en-eeuu-carga-contra-el-gobierno-de-andorra_35177_102.html.

[113] https://www.elmundo.es/economia/2016/03/04/56d8a9af22601dea318b4671.html

[114] https://cadenaser.com/ser/2016/10/31/tribunales/1477930972_964600.html

[115] https://cadenaser.com/ser/2016/10/31/tribunales/1477930972_964600.html

[116] https://cronicaglobal.elespanol.com/business/la-quiebra-de-banco-madrid-fue-fortuita-sobrevenida-por-la-intervencion-del-bpa_78769_102.html

[117] https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/trending/gcr_00if5d0zfepmaaphig2

[118] https://www.jcfco.com/

[119] https://www.zawya.com/mena/en/economy/story/How_a_Chinese_venture_in_Venezuela_made_millions_while_locals_grew_hungry-TR20190507nL1N22D1E7X1/

[120] https://it.marketscreener.com/leader-finanza/James-Flowers-05GV2T-E/biografia/

[121] https://www.economiadigital.es/economia/de-fracaso-en-fracaso-hasta-que-gano-un-banco-en-andorra_183521_102.html

[122] https://www.economiadigital.es/economia/de-fracaso-en-fracaso-hasta-que-gano-un-banco-en-andorra_183521_102.html

[123] https://www.economiadigital.es/economia/de-fracaso-en-fracaso-hasta-que-gano-un-banco-en-andorra_183521_102.html

[124] https://www.economiadigital.es/economia/de-fracaso-en-fracaso-hasta-que-gano-un-banco-en-andorra_183521_102.html

[125] https://www.economiadigital.es/economia/de-fracaso-en-fracaso-hasta-que-gano-un-banco-en-andorra_183521_102.html

[126] https://www.economiadigital.es/empresas/cierco-bpa-querella-vall-banc-jc-flowers-fraude_579830_102.html

[127] https://www.economiadigital.es/empresas/cierco-bpa-querella-vall-banc-jc-flowers-fraude_579830_102.html

[128] https://www.economiadigital.es/empresas/cierco-bpa-querella-vall-banc-jc-flowers-fraude_579830_102.html

[129] https://www.economiadigital.es/empresas/cierco-bpa-querella-vall-banc-jc-flowers-fraude_579830_102.html

[130] https://www.elperiodic.ad/noticia/63051/una-vaga-historica

[131] https://eltaquigrafo.com/andorra-a-punto-de-quedarse-sin-magistrados-para-juzgar-a-la-bpa/1981/

[132] https://eltaquigrafo.com/se-archiva-la-querella-por-blanqueo-contra-banco-madrid/2023/

[133] https://eltaquigrafo.com/andorra-investigada-por-prevaricacion-en-el-caso-bpa/17336/

[134] 2000.04.27 Orfund SA Andorra La Vella

[135] https://okdiario.com/investigacion/ministro-que-adjudico-casino-andorra-dedicaba-trafico-diamantes-lingotes-oro-3665268

[136] https://all-andorra.com/government-andorra-supports-minister-finance-jordi-cinca-response-lawsuit-lawyer-ex-president-orfund-group/ ; https://cronicaglobal.elespanol.com/vida/jordi-cinca-lingotes-oro-barcelona-andorra_122744_102.html

[137] https://eltaquigrafo.com/andorra-investigada-por-prevaricacion-en-el-caso-bpa/17336/

[138] https://eltaquigrafo.com/el-gobierno-de-andorra-regala-80-millones-de-euros-a-estados-unidos-por-el-caso-bpa/3088/

[139] https://eltaquigrafo.com/caso-bpa-piden-la-imputacion-de-rajoy/18209/

[140] https://fiscomania.com/paesi-black-list-paradisi-fiscali/

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