Mercè Pigem, spokeswoman for the CGPJ (a combined watchdog / committee for judges) has been caught carrying 9,500 euros in cash at a border control at the frontier with Andorra. She was travelling with her sister, who had 10,600 euros in cash in her purse.
Although she technically hasn’t done anything wrong, as you only have to declare to customs if you are carrying over 10,000 euros in cash on your person, the president of the CGPJ Carlos Lesmes has demanded her resignation. Mercè has initially rejected the demand, saying that he is simply taking advantage of the situation to get rid of her. Pigem’s sister has been charged with an administrative charge of money laundering and her 10,600 euros has been seized.
Lesmes said that she had fallen short of the standards expected of her office, especially given the current corruption scandals, and that she should resign. Pigem responded saying that she was appointed by Parliament and rejected any suggestion that she’d done anything wrong. Lesmes is a little touchy on the subject, as Pigem’s predecessor, Lluis Pasqual, was found to have a large amount of undeclared money in a Swiss bank account and is currently in jail for tax evasion.
The explanation for the money is that it was an early Christmas present from her mother, who had decided to give the cash to her daughters. There is an alternate and unproven suggestion doing the rounds that Lesmes may have a flat in Andorra that she could be renting out without declaring the money.