Catalan police (Los Mossos d’Esquadra) has conducted a search at FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou offices as part of the ongoing ‘Barçagate’ investigation, Barcelona based radio station SER Catalunya has confirmed.
This follows a recent case of a contract between the football club and social media company I3 Ventures. The social media partner allegedly created fake profile accounts ostensibly to tarnish the reputation of many past and present players and officials of FC Barcelona.
Current captain Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, former president and new presidential candidate Joan Laporta and former player Xavi Hernandez werer all mentioned in the scandal.
While it is not clear which current officials or case is the subject of the Police raid, local radio, SER Catalunya, reports that they may be centered on illegal administration and individual cases of corruption.
Fears of corruption at the club were highlighted when the police determined that there were “clear signs of corruption”. This determination was based on the fact that Barça issued ‘unofficial payments’ to I3 Ventures in invoices totaling 200,000 euros.
Following the police action, the club hired a Price Waterhouse Coopers, a multinational auditing firm, with the mandate to investigate the matter. Their investigations reportedly suggested a favorable ruling should the matter develop to prosecution stage.
However, with increased public scrutiny of the matter, there were casualties among the club’s hierarchy. Up to seven top brass executives of the club; Maria Teixidor, Noelia Ronero, Silvio Elias, Josep Pont, Enrique Tombas, Emili Roussaud and Jordi Calsamiglia were all forced to relinquish their positions.
The most recent Police raid happened in July 2020 when the Los Mossos seized paperwork and other documents after a group of supporters filed a legal claim against FC Barcelona. The documents were reportedly related to the I3 Ventures contract.