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Ex-Barcelona President Bartomeu Arrested 

Ex-Barcelona President Bartomeu Arrested 

Barcelona former president Josep Maria Bartomeu has been arrested following a raid on the club’s offices on Monday.

The club’s CEO Oscar Grau and Roman Gómez Ponti, head of legal, were also arrested on the basis of unfair administration, corruption between individuals and money laundering.

It comes amid the continued investigation into ‘BarcaGate’, in which club officials were accused of launching a smear campaign against current and former players who were critical of the club and then-president Bartomeu.
He and his board of directors resigned last year in controversy.

Local authorities from Mossos d’Esquadra entered Barcelona’s stadium as the club’s finance, legal and compliance departments are investigated.

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Police have confirmed that arrests have been made and while they aren’t declaring who, multiple sources in Spain have declared Bartomeu and Grau are among those, as well as Gomez Ponti and Jaume Masferrer, Bartomeu’s former right-hand man.

According to Cadena SER radio, they were arrested on suspicion of “unfair administration, corruption between individuals and money laundering” after paying money in instalments to avoid internal financial controls.

A statement released on Monday by Barcelona insist they are co-operating fully with police.

The ‘BarcaGate’ scandal, which has been investigated for almost a year, has long been denied by Bartomeu.

It was claimed that he and his regime had hired I3 Ventures to protect his reputation, while smearing the names of the likes of Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Pep Guardiola and other club legends, as well as outspoken critics of Bartomeu.

In February 2020 they confirmed a partnership with I3 Ventures, but denied claims that the firm ran a number of unofficial Facebook and Twitter accounts on the club’s behalf.

It subsequently led to six members of Bartomeu’s board quitting last April, amid civil war at the Catalan club.

One of those, former vice president Emili Rousaud, accused a high-ranking executive of “having their hand in the till”.

A public letter duly called for an investigation following leaks in the Spanish media that the service was paid for in five instalments of €200k, to avoid for aforementioned financial controls.

Barcelona, then under Bartomeu’s command, immediately threatened legal action, and while an external audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers later cleared the club of any wrongdoing on a financial level – namely that they did not pay an inflated price for the services – police have been investigating ever since.

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