Ex Barça president diverted club money to related businesspeople and journalists, police say

Spanish radio Cadena SER reports that suspected invoices reach €233,000, under Bartomeu

Former FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu
Former FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu / FC Barcelona
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

July 19, 2023 07:52 PM

Catalan Mossos d'Esquadra police say that the former FC Barcelona president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, diverted money from the club to related businesspeople and journalists, as the Spanish radio SER reports.

Officers found several invoices during the investigation of the Barçagate referee corruption scandal that read that the team paid €233,000 to Amalgama Marketing from 2015 to 2020. 

According to SER, the club hired the company for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons and paid €84,000 per season, but most of the money transferred ended up being paid to journalists and businesspeople, following Bartomeu's orders, who stated the amount and the concept of the invoices.

Amalgama's owner is Miquel Sambola, the honorific president of Barcelona's Laietà sports club, and his brother, the CEO. The club is located just outside Barça's Camp Nou stadium and received €1.5 million in compensation for the Miniestadi stadium works in 2018. Mossos d'Esquadra says that Sambola is a friend of Bartomeu and that the three worked together during the presidential campaign.

Law enforcement agents also state that in October 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic and when FCB was cutting expenses, Bartomeu doubled the monthly payments to the company from €7,000 to €15,000. Among the invoices, one is regarding footballer Lionel Messi's Ballon d'Or.