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Bartomeu, ex-Barcelona president, arrested as police raid club offices

Bartomeu, ex-Barcelona president, arrested as police raid club offices
March 01
14:49 2021

Josep Maria Bartomeu, former president of Barcelona football club, was reportedly arrested after the Catalan police force raided the club’s offices on Monday.

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According to AS, a Spanish news daily, the Catalan police conducted a search on Camp Nou as part of the ongoing “Barçagate” investigation.

It is understood that the investigation is to unravel a smear campaign supposedly sponsored by the club against influential past and present players.

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The investigation also surrounds an alleged contract between the football club and I3 Ventures, a social media company accused of creating fake social media accounts.

In 2020, Cadena Ser’s El Larguero revealed documents from the Spanish giants which appeared to show the club paying I3 Ventures to tarnish the characters of Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Xavi Hernandez and Pep Guardiola – who were seen to be opponents of Bartomeu.

While Barcelona also confirmed the raid in a statement, the club did not reveal details on the number of arrests made and the identity of those involved.

Bartomeu was arrested on Monday after Catalan police officers searched the La Liga club’s offices, (Alejandro García EFE)

“Before the entry and search by the Catalan Police force this morning at the Camp Nou offices under the instruction of the Instructing Court number 13 in Barcelona, which is in charge of the case relating to the contacting of monitoring services on social networks, 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 statement read.

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“The information and documentation requested by the judicial police force relate strictly to the facts relative to this case.

“FC Barcelona express its great respect for the judicial process in place and for the principle of presumed innocence for the people affected within the remit of this investigation.”

Bartomeu was Barcelona’s president for six years before he stepped down after a vote of no confidence in October 2020 due to alleged financial and administrative mismanagement stemming from the expanded Barcagate scandal.

The club’s members will vote to elect a new president in an election scheduled for March 7.

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