1 Mar, 2021 @ 14:35
1 min read

Former FC Barcelona president arrested in police corruption probe over La Liga club in Spain

Fc Barcelona Introduce New Player Pedro Gonzalez Lopez    Pedri
Josep Maria Bartomeu during the presentation of Pedri as the new player of FC Barcelona, on 20th August 2020. (Photo by Noelia Deniz/Urbanandsport /NurPhoto)

CATALAN police raided FC Barcelona’s Nou Camp headquarters and various homes this morning(March 1) to arrest several people including ex-club president, Josep Maria Bartomeu.

The operation is being run by the financial crimes unit of the Mossos d’Esquadra and is linked to corruption, money laundering, and unfair administration.

Barcelona CEO, Oscar Grau; legal services head, Roman Gomez Ponti; and presidential adviser, Juame Masferrer, were also detained according to Spanish media reports.

The Mossos refused to confirm any names except to say that an operation had taken place.

The morning raids were staged six days before Barcelona hold their presidential election, but Bartomeu, who resigned last October, is not standing.

The arrests and seizure of documents are linked to last year’s probe into the so-called ‘BarcaGate’ scandal.

The club, under Bartomeu, hired a company to criticise past and present players like Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique on social media in an attempt to boost Bartomeu’s standing.

Barca paid €1 million in six separate invoices to the communications consultancy I3 Ventures, who created social media accounts to run the smear campaign against people who were critical of Bartomeu’s tenure.

The invoices are alleged to have been forged.

Bartomeu quit when the story became public ahead of an almost-certain defeat in a vote of confidence that had been called to oust him.

His successor is due to be elected on Sunday, when club members will choose between Joan Laporta, Toni Freixa and Victor Font.

Alex Trelinski

Alex worked for 30 years for the BBC as a presenter, producer and manager. He covered a variety of areas specialising in sport, news and politics. After moving to the Costa Blanca over a decade ago, he edited a newspaper for 5 years and worked on local radio.

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