Former Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu and current CEO Oscar Grau have both been arrested following a raid on the club’s offices this morning.
The 40th President of FC Barcelona resigned last October after six years in the position, with a fallout with Lionel Messi playing a huge role in his unceremonious exit.
Bartomeu is being investigated in a case of alleged tax fraud over the signing of Neymar along with former president Sandro Rosell, and he is set to stand trial after his appeal was rejected.
The 58-year-old has found himself in more trouble in recent hours after the Catalan police found indications of possible corruption during the closing months of his tenure.
Bartomeu allegedly paid Spanish a PR company – I3 ventures – to polish his image while tarnishing those of his opponents, critics, former and some current players at Barcelona.
While the Spanish giants and I3 denied the allegations and an audit by Price Waterhouse Coopers found them innocent, recent findings this morning could say otherwise.
Bartomeu, Grau, Roma Gomez Punti (head of the club’s legal services) and Jaume Masferrer, who was until recently Bartomeu’s lawyer of confidence at the club, have all been arrested, and Spanish football expert Guillem Balague has reacted to the development on Twitter.
They have been arrested on suspicion of “unfair administration, corruption between individuals and money laundering”
— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) March 1, 2021
While Barcelona won four La Liga titles, four Copa del Rey and a Champions League during his tenure, Bartomeu has come in for criticism for the poor business the club did in the transfer market in his time.
Over £1 billion was spent on players during his stay at Camp Nou, but they do not have much to show for it on and off the pitch and are currently in a lot of debt.