Judge releases former Barcelona FC president Bartomeu, Masferrer

Barcelona, Mar 2 (efe-epa).- The judge investigating the so called “BarçaGate” case on Tuesday ordered the provisional release of former FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his right hand, Jaume Masferrer, who used their right not to testify.

According to the High Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC), judge Alejandra Gil has ordered the release of Bartomeu and Masferrer with charges as both are under investigation for malpractices under their administration and corruption in business.

The magistrate has also agreed to lift the secrecy concerning the case, which she had extended up to six times and in which FC Barcelona is not listed as an accused party, but as an affected party, legal sources confirmed to EFE.

Bartomeu and Masferrer, for whom the public prosecutor’s office did not seek precautionary measures, were transferred early morning to the Ciutat de la Justicia, where they faced legal proceedings.

They were arrested Monday by the police or the the Mossos d’Esquadra, along with the director general of the club, Oscar Grau, and the head of the legal services, Roman Gomez-Ponti. The authorities also searched the office of the club at Camp Nou.

All the four people apprehended used their right not to testify before police officers, but while Grau and Gomez-Ponti were released, Bartomeu and Masferrer spent the night at the Les Corts police station.

The case, which was opened in May 2020, tries to clarify whether different companies hired by FC Barcelona allegedly carried out a socail media campaign to malign individuals and entities not allied to the board of directors under Bartomeu.

The investigation was based on a complaint by the group of members, Dignitat Blaugrana, and until Tuesday it came under the sixth extension of the summary secret, which would expire on Mar. 10.

The lifting of the secrecy of the proceedings also coincides with the debate of the candidates vying for the presidency of the club – Victor Font, Toni Freixa and Joan Laporta – ahead of the elections scheduled for Sunday. EFE-EPA


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