Bartomeu arrested as police raid club offices in Barçagate investigation

Barcelona, Mar 1 (efe-epa).- Police in Catalonia on Monday arrested the former president of Barcelona FC, Josep Bartomeu, as part of an investigation into alleged corruption dubbed “Barçagate”, judicial sources told Efe.

The Mossos d’Esquadra also detained another former director Jaume Masferrer and the current chief executive officer, Oscar Grau, after raiding the offices at Barcelona’s stadium, Camp Nou, on Monday morning.

The investigation was opened last year after Bartomeu and other leading figures at the LaLiga giants were accused by club members of paying a company to wage a social media smear campaign against senior players and potential presidential candidates who would have stood against Bartomeu in his reelection bid.

Current captain Lionel Messi, former coach Pep Guardiola, former midfielder and captain Xavi and current center-back Gerard Pique — all Barcelona stalwarts — were among those allegedly targeted by the company in the three-year campaign.

Bartomeu denied the accusations last February. He resigned in October under increasing pressure from players and fans of the club after he had publicly fallen out with Messi.

The Catalan club expressed on Monday its “utmost respect for the judicial process in place and for the principle of presumed innocence for the people affected within the remit of this investigation”.

 “FC Barcelona have offered up their full collaboration to the legal and police authorities to help make clear facts which are subject to investigation,” the club said in a statement.

“The information and documentation requested by the judicial police force relate strictly to the facts relative to this case,” the statement read. EFE-EPA


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