Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has been accused of corruption by Los Mossos – the Catalan police force.
Bartomeu has been criticised far and wide in recent weeks, with Barça’s 8-2 Champions League loss to Bayern Munich and Lionel Messi’s subsequent request to leave putting the club in a state of chaos.
Now, as reported by El Mundo, Bartomeu has been accused of making personal financial gains relating to a case known as ‘Barçagate’.
In February, it was sensationally claimed that the La Liga giants had paid company I3 Ventures around €1m for social media services. This included circulating posts and memes on Facebook and Twitter that targeted their own players and legends, including Messi, Gerard Pique, Xavi and Pep Guardiola.
Cadena SER published a 36-page dossier reported as ‘evidence’ of links to six social media accounts which made posts to attack Barça stars and potential presidential candidates.
Bartomeu and Barcelona have always denied any wrongdoing regarding Barçagate. A February statement from the club reads: “FC Barcelona flatly denies any relationship and, even more, the contracting of services linked to social network accounts that have spread negative or disparaging messages in relation to any person, entity or organisation that has or has had a relationship with the club.”
I3 Ventures also denied working on Barça’s behalf and labelled SER’s allegations ‘absolutely false’. They said they did not own several pages identified in the previous report and added that their role is related to ‘tracking and monitoring’ social and digital channels.
Now, Los Mossos say there is sufficient evidence to accuse the Barcelona president of corruption and personally benefiting from said scandal.
Barcelona are still working on their efforts to keep star player Messi at the club, though reports from Argentina state it is now more likely the legendary attacker will stay for the final year of his contract.