Former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu amongst officers arrested after raid at membership’s places of work, say experiences

Former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu amongst officers arrested after raid at membership’s places of work, say experiences

Bartomeu resigned in October, after mounting stress following months of controversy and a dramatic decline in performances on the pitch.

Former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu among officials arrested after raid at club’s offices, say reports

Josep Maria Bartomeu resigned as Barcelona president in October 2020. Reuters

Barcelona: Barcelona confirmed on Monday police raided the membership’s places of work as a part of an investigation into the hiring of an organization to enhance the picture of former president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

A number of arrests have been made, a Catalan regional police spokesman advised AFP, simply six days forward of the membership’s new presidential elections on Sunday.

Spain’s Cadena Ser radio stated a kind of arrested was Bartomeu, who resigned in October, together with CEO Oscar Grau and the membership’s head of authorized companies Roma Gomez Ponti.

However Barcelona refused to touch upon arrests whereas the police wouldn’t affirm names, saying solely that “arrests are going down” and including that the operation was being run by officers from the monetary crimes unit.

“We’re within the means of finishing up an operation proper now with brokers of the monetary crimes unit,” the police spokesman advised AFP.

Barcelona stated the operation is linked to final yr’s investigation into the ‘BarcaGate’ scandal, by which the membership was accused of overlaying up funds to an organization referred to as I3 Ventures, employed to spice up the picture of then-president Bartomeu on social media.

A part of the marketing campaign included criticising present and former gamers, like Lionel Messi, Pep Guardiola and Xavi Hernandez. Messi described the controversy as “unusual” in an interview with Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo.

A membership assertion on Monday learn: “Relating to the entry and search by the Catalan Police power this morning on the Camp Nou places of work by order of the Instructing Court docket quantity 13 in Barcelona, which is in control of the case regarding the contacting of monitoring companies on social networks, FC Barcelona have supplied up their full collaboration to the authorized and police authorities to assist clarify info that are topic to investigation.

“The data and documentation requested by the judicial police power relate strictly to the info relative to this case.”

Cadena Ser claimed Barca paid I3 Ventures an inflated price and put funds by in smaller, separate quantities to keep away from the membership’s monetary controls.

Emili Rousaud, who resigned as Barcelona vice-president in March final yr, stated in an interview with RAC1: “If the auditors inform us the price of these companies is 100,000 euros and we’ve got paid a million, it means somebody has had their hand within the until.” The membership took authorized motion in opposition to him.

Rousaud was amongst six Barca executives to depart their posts, with a joint letter citing the controversy as a key subject needing to be resolved.

‘Plugging gaps’

Bartomeu stated the corporate had been employed solely to watch posts on social media and introduced an inside audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which cleared the membership of monetary corruption in July.

“Let one factor be clear,” Bartomeu stated. “To the query: Have we commissioned the monitoring of social networks? The reply is sure.

“To the query: Have we commissioned to discredit individuals or establishments by social networks? The reply isn’t any and we’ll take motion in opposition to all those that accuse us of that.”

Bartomeu resigned in October, avoiding a vote of no confidence triggered after greater than 20,000 membership members signed a petition in opposition to him.

His departure got here the identical month Barcelona introduced losses of 97 million euros ($114m) for final season and money owed that had greater than doubled to 488 million euros.

In addition to a sequence of political blunders, Bartomeu had additionally overseen a dramatic decline in performances on the pitch and a private falling-out with Messi, who tried to depart totally free final summer time.

Messi accused the membership of “at all times juggling every thing and plugging gaps” beneath Bartomeu’s management.

Bartomeu’s successor is because of be elected on Sunday, when membership members will select between the ultimate three candidates, Joan Laporta, Toni Freixa and Victor Font.

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