Tania Head: Her Good (Pseudonym) Was Her (Phony) Bond

The Head Case
The Head case: The Catalonian she-Zelig testifies to tragedy. Source: New York Times.

As for her educational background, she has told people that she has an undergraduate degree from Harvard and a graduate business degree from Stanford, though officials at both universities said they could not find records of a student by her name.

In reality, Alicia Esteve Head belongs to a well-known Barcelona business family that found itself implicated in the 1992 economic scandal known as the Planasdemunt Affair, one of the biggest ever in Catalonia. Her father and her brother were sentenced to prison for forging documents (short-term bonds) issued by the Barcelona firm BFP.

Suspected bogus 9/11 survivor from Barcelona: report (AFP): A follow-up to

on the ontopsychological status of one Tania Head.

The Catalonian daily La Vanguardia said Tania Head was better known in Barcelona as Alicia Esteve Head, publishing a photograph of her with colleagues taken when she worked as a management secretary in the city between 1998 and 2000. Associates told the newspaper she often recounted unlikely stories which put herself at the centre of the action, notably one of a high-speed car crash in which she was badly hurt.

Oddly, I am not finding that on La Vanguardia‘s Web site. Maybe its search engine is not very good or it has not posted the story yet.

Ah, here it is.

Google found it. The newspaper’s own search engine did not. This happens a lot. Review the performance of your search provider early and often, Webmasters.

La Vanguardia quoted a former colleage as saying that Esteve Head also had a scarred and deformed arm, which she blamed on a 200-kilometre (125-mile) an hour crash in a Ferrari with her fiancé.

Según ha podido averiguar LaVanguardia,la supuesta superviviente del piso 78 de la torre sur – ella contaba su conmovedora historia ante cientos de reporteros, estudiantes y visitantes en la zona cero y en todo tipo de foros- es en realidad una secretaria barcelonesa que se llama Alicia Esteve Head.

Tania and Rudy “Giuliani Time!” Giuliani. Unfair to bork Rudy by association, some observers are commenting. Possibly a fair point, but the photo certainly does illustrate the extraordinary degree of access the woman achieved through confabulation and “innovative identity management.”

As this newspaper has been able to establish, the supposed survivor from the 78th floor of the South Tower — she told her moving story to hundreds of reporters, students and Ground Zero visitors, and in all kinds of other forums — is in reality a Barcelona-born secretary named Alicia Esteve Head.

Todo apunta a que su historia es fruto de la imaginación y sus ansias de protagonismo. Tania (en realidad, Alicia) afirmaba ser uno de los 19 supervivientes que se hallaban en los pisos donde impactaron los aviones o en los pisos superiores. Aseguraba trabajar en las oficinas que Merrill Lynch tenía en la torre sur (hecho que el banco desmiente). Explicaba que ese día pensaba en el hermoso vestido blanco que llevaría cuando se casara con su novio, Dave, que murió en la torre norte (la familia y los amigos de Dave dicen que nunca habían oído hablar de Tania, y que la historia es imposible).

… Dave’s family say they never head of Tania, and that the story is impossible.

Skipping some of the recap.

Efectivamente, Alicia Esteve Head pertenece a una familia de conocidos empresarios barceloneses que se vio implicada en 1992 en el escándalo ecónómico conocido como el caso Planasdemunt, uno de los de mayor calado en Catalunya. Su padre, Francisco Esteve Corbella, y su hermano, Francisco Javier Esteve Head, fueron condenados a penas de prisión por un delito de falsedad documental (fraude de pagarés falsos) distribuidos por la empresa barcelonesa BFP.

In reality, Alicia Esteve Head belongs to a well-known Barcelona business family that found itself implicated in the 1992 economic scandal known as the Planasdemunt Affair, one of the biggest ever in Catalonia. Her father and her brother were sentenced to prison for forging documents (short-term bonds) issued by the Barcelona firm BFP.

Their family income was, as it were, “fixed.”

Or so Judge Estevill ruled.

Planasdemunt was the economy secretary for the regional generalitat of Catalonia under its president-for-life Jordi Pujol.

One whom see this multimedia bio.

Planasdemunt was sentenced to prison in 1996, according to El Mundo, after having been found to have favored a firm he was a (silent) partner in with loans from the regional financial ministry, which he headed.

Sort of a Catalán Francisco Gil Díaz, if so, I guess you could say.

Catalán Wikipedia has this on Jordi Planasdemunt i Gubert:

L’any 1994, mentre desenvolupava aquest càrrec, es va veure implicat de ple en el cas BFP. BFP fou una empresa creada pel mateix Planasdemunt que organitzà una xarxa de pagarés falsos per valor de 4.000 milions de pessetes. Per aquest delicte fou condemnat a set anys de presó pel jutge Lluís Pascual i Estevill. D’aquests només en complí tres, perquè el 1997 l’alliberaren per raons de salut. Planasdemunt morí l’any següent a Barcelona, als 70 anys d’edat.

He only served three years of his seven-year sentence, then was released for reasons of health, dying the following year at 70. Still proclaiming his innocence, arguing that he should not have been held criminally responsible for wrongdoing by employees of a firm in whose management he played no day-to-day role, if I am reading this — and other contemporary coverage of the affair — right.

He was a member of the Christian Democratic coalition Convergència i Unió coalition, in case you were wondering.

A movement that, under Pujol, allied itself with José Maria “ETA did 11-M!” Aznar’s PP in the Pacto del Majestic in 1996.

And what did they use the illicit money for, I wonder?

Writes one observer, who follows the life and times of the “controversial” Judge Estevill, who tried the case, on a Geocities Web site:

Nunca se investigó el destino final que la firma BFP dio a este dinero.

The final use to which BFP put this money was never investigated.

Some sort of Catalonian mensalão?

With Planasdemunt as its Zé Dirceu?

Could it be?

By “controversial,” with regard to Estevill, read sent to jail for judicial corruption involving extortion using the power of his office — and big, fat, juicy Swiss bank accounts, which he allegedly visited often — I should add.

Also a political ally of José Maria “ETA did 11-M!” Aznar, they say.

Estevill applied to have his case treated as a case of “political persecution,” but was turned down by the United Nations.

He later apologized for his crimes, I read — effectively, I gather, allocuting to them.

Hence our theory of the “banana-republican guilty plea”: There are genuine cases of political persecution using official institutions such as the judiciary.

But if “I am a victim of political persecution” is the entire defense of an accused party, who otherwise refuses to rebut factual assertions about his actions, it may constitute a prima facie indicator of the BRGP.

Which in its most general form consists of “filibustering hysterically while changing the subject.”

Also know as the Tom “I am a victim of the politics of personal destruction!” de Lay defense.

I love Catalán.

I once translated a really funny short story about a Catalonian guy, living in Copenhagen, who gets a job teaching Portuguese to a Danish businessman who is going to Brazil.

He needs the money badly, so he does not try too hard to dispel the common tendency to confuse Portuguese with that other lyrical, soft consonant-laden Iberian Romance language.

In the end, the businessman writes him a caustic, hilarious letter from Rio after discovering the ruse.

Back to Tania Head:

El hilo biográfico de Alicia arranca en Barcelona. Vivía en la calle Els Vergós, 18, en Tres Torres, distrito de Sarrià-Sant Gervasi. Trabajó desde 1998 hasta 2000 – cuando aún no había cumplido 30 años- en la empresa Hovisa, propietaria en su día del hotel Arts, partícipe de la inversión española que hizo la compañía japonesa de grandes almacenes Sogo y copropietaria del centro comercial Marina Village, entre otros negocios. Alicia Esteve fue secretaria de uno de los responsables de Hovisa, el japonés Takeshi Hironaka, y acudía a las reuniones con el director del hotel y exponía las cuestiones de facturación.

Alicia’s life story begins in Barcelona. She lived at 18 Els Vergós Street in Tres Torres, in Sarrià-Sant Gervasi. She worked from 1998 to 2000 — before she turned 30 — at Hovisa, the owner at the time of the Arts Hotel, a partner in a Spanish investment by Sogo, a Japanese firm that owns big warehouses and is co-owner of the Marina Village business center, among other ventures. Alicia Esteve was secretary to Hovisa executive Takeshi Hironaka and attended meetings with the manager of the hotel, explaining revenue matters.

Provisional risk-management takeaway: The woman seems to have been born from the gibbering, metaphysical fervor of a political culture in which the art of the hysterical gibbering ratfink is practiced with great verve and dedication.

In which the head of state calls up all the newspapers to push the thesis that ETA did 11-M, for example.

And then tries to wipe the record clean about his efforts to do so.

Let that be a lesson to us: Letting our political culture degenerate into a reprint of Goya’s “The Sleep of Reason” may not be advisable.

Viva the reality-based community.

That is my personal freaking shadow at lower left, dude. I used to work in that freaking building.


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