FC Barcelona board denounces former governing team for alleged irregularities
President Joan Laporta to announce results of internal investigation on February 1
Futbol Club Barcelona has denounced the former board of the club led by Josep Maria Bartomeu for alleged financial irregularities.
The club has already presented its complaint to the public prosecutor’s office and president Joan Laporta will explain the situation to club members on February 1, the club announced on Wednesday afternoon.
The current board was waiting for the results of an internal investigation regarding alleged financial irregularities regarding the signing of several players. Catalan daily La Vanguardia cites that commissions of above 20% may have been paid on player transfers.
Some other irregularities could be linked to the Espai Barça, the campus surrounding Barça's stadium which includes other buildings and facilities. La Vanguardia reports that there was an excess in payments for collaborators and the hiring of works in the Espai Barça.
Another case Joan Laporta’s team has denounced their predecessor for is related to ‘Barçagate scandal,’ despite the fact that Bartomeu et al are already under police investigation for this case.
In April 2020 it was revealed that the club had reportedly hired a social media company to publish negative stories about perceived enemies of then-president Josep Maria Bartomeu, including current players like Lionel Messi and Gerard Piqué, as well as former figures with ties to the club.
A few months later, a number of board members resigned, citing a lack of faith in the club's management; Barçagate was just one of the examples given.
Payments to the company for these services were staggered, meaning that each fell below the amount needed to be approved by the board and were kept hidden from most of the club's leadership and the public.
In March 2021, Josep Maria Bartomeu spent a night in detention as part of an investigation into the misuse of funds and corruption.
Joan Laporta, less than a year in charge
By a considerable margin, after gaining far above 50% of the total vote share, Joan Laporta was elected the new president of FC Barcelona on March 2021.
A total of 30,184 club members opted for Laporta from 51,765 people who took part in the election, slightly under half of the total eligible voters.
It is the second time Joan Laporta is the FC Barcelona president and one of his main challenges was the debt levels that had risen to enormous heights over the past couple of years, exacerbated by the pandemic stopping much of the income streams.
In January 2021, it was revealed that the debts at FC Barcelona were even more catastrophic than what was first reported some months prior.