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01st Mar 2021

Former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu arrested after Camp Nou raid

Simon Lloyd

Police are searching for evidence relating to the “Barcagate” scandal

Josep Maria Bartomeu, the former president of Barcelona, is reportedly one of four arrests made by police on Monday after a raid on the club’s Camp Nou offices.

According to ESPN, Bartomeu was arrested along with his adviser Jaume Masferrer, the club’s CEO Oscar Grau and head of legal services Roman Gomez Ponti.

Police officers are said to be searching for evidence relating to the “Barcagate” scandal, where, under Bartomeu’s presidency, it was alleged the club paid a third-party company to publicly discredit Barca players past and present and presidential candidates on social media.

Barca have strongly denied the allegations and later terminated contracts with l3 Ventures, the company responsible for the social media accounts.

Despite the club being cleared of any wrongdoing by an external audit conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers last July, who also found Barca did not pay l3 an inflated fee for their services, police opened their own independent investigation last year, raiding the club’s offices in search of documents last summer.

Bartomeu resigned from his position last October following the controversy surrounding Lionel Messi. The Argentine made it known he wanted to leave the club before the current season began before reluctantly agreeing to stay. It remains unclear if Messi will extend his stay at the club beyond the summer.

The club remain in the grips of political turmoil with debts exacerbated by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.