Jordi Pujol, former longtime leader of Spain's powerful northeastern Catalonia region, is being quizzed in the National Court as a suspect in a money-laundering probe.

Pujol and his wife Mercedes Ferrusola were called to appear Wednesday as part of an investigation into the origin of a family fortune that was hidden in Andorra for several decades, as well as the business dealings of three of their sons.

Pujol, 85, denies wrongdoing and claims the money stems from an inheritance.

Pujol, founder of Catalonia's Convergence party that governs the region, was regional president from 1980 to 2003 and is considered the father of the Catalan nationalist movement. The secession drive has surged in recent years in a drive to separate Catalonia from Spain to form an independent country.