Catalan police detained a number of individuals after raiding Barcelona’s stadium on Monday in a search and seize operation, including to the membership’s turmoil lower than per week earlier than it elects a brand new president.
The operation was associated to final yr’s “Barcagate,” through which membership officers had been accused of launching a smear marketing campaign in opposition to present and former gamers who had been vital of the membership and then-president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
Police stated detentions had been made however didn’t say who or how many individuals had been taken into custody. Spanish media stated Bartomeu and different former membership officers had been amongst these detained.
Authorities spent a number of hours on the staff’s headquarters looking out paperwork and speaking to workers.
The membership, mired in debt of greater than 1.1 billion euros ($1.68 billion Cdn), stated it supplied “full collaboration to the authorized and police authorities to assist clarify details that are topic to investigation.”
It added the case was associated “to the contacting of monitoring providers on social networks.”
“The data and documentation requested by the judicial police drive relate strictly to the details relative to this case. FC Barcelona (expresses) its utmost respect for the judicial course of in place and for the precept of presumed innocence for the individuals affected inside the remit of this investigation,” the membership stated.
The membership didn’t point out Bartomeu. A textual content message despatched to Bartomeu was not instantly answered.
Key former officers detained
One of many three presidential candidates, Joan Laporta, advised Lleida Radio that what occurred on Monday “was a consequence of the dangerous administration by the earlier administration.”
He stated information of Bartomeu’s reported detention was “stunning” and “not good” for the membership, however stated the previous president deserved the “presumption of innocence.”
Laporta was Barcelona’s president a decade in the past and, like Bartomeu, additionally confronted a no-confidence vote throughout his time in cost.
Amongst these reportedly detained had been membership CEO Oscar Grau and authorized division chief Roman Gomez Ponti. Jaume Masferrer, Bartomeu’s former chief of workers, additionally was allegedly detained.
They had been taken to a police station for interrogation, Spanish media stated, and police additionally went to Bartomeu’s home trying to find proof.
Court docket officers stated a decide ordered the search and seize operation however the detentions had been made on the discretion of the police brokers concerned. Authorities stated the operation was being carried out by the police’s monetary crimes division.
A interval of struggles
Barcelona has denied accusations that it employed – and overpaid – an organization to make detrimental feedback about its personal gamers and opponents on social media with the intention to enhance the picture of senior membership officers.
The corporate was accused of utilizing faux social media accounts to discredit opposition figures once they expressed views that went in opposition to the membership. Among the figures had been reported to have included gamers such Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique, in addition to former coach Pep Guardiola.
The membership later launched an unbiased audit report displaying that there was no wrongdoing.
Bartomeu and his board of administrators resigned final yr amid fallout from the controversy surrounding Messi. The membership has been mired in political turmoil and debt prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The membership has been managed by a caretaker board since Bartomeu left in October whereas going through a no-confidence movement supported by 1000’s of membership members livid on the staff’s poor performances and the membership’s monetary scenario.
The membership’s struggles started to floor after the staff’s embarrassing 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich within the quarterfinals of the Champions League final season, which was the primary with no title for the Spanish membership for the reason that 2007/08 season.
Bartomeu was loudly criticized by Messi, particularly after the previous president denied the participant’s request to go away the membership on the finish of final season. Messi’s contract ends this season and the Argentine nice has but to say whether or not he’ll keep or go.
Barcelona is 5 factors off the Spanish league lead. It misplaced at house to Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 within the first leg of the spherical of 16 of the Champions League and was overwhelmed by Sevilla 2-0 within the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals.