By Staff Reporter
Four former Barcelona officials were arrested on Monday including former president Josep Maria Bartomeu
The club’s Nou Camp offices were also raided by Catalan police.
Current chief executive Oscar Grau, director of legal services Gomez Ponti, and advisor to the president Jaume Masferrer were the other three detained by Mossos d’Esquadra, the force confirmed according to Spanish radio station Onda Cero.
Bartomeu spent the night in the Les Corts police station, as well as Masferrer, but Grau and Ponti were reportedly not detained.
Olga Tubau, lawyer of ex-Barcelona executive Jaume Masferrer, said Bartomeu and Masferrer were being treated “very well”.
The operation is in connection with last year’s ‘Barcagate’, in which club officials were accused of launching a smear campaign against current and former players, who were critical of the club and Bartomeu.
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No offers from City yet with Messi to decide this summer Barcelona had denied accusations that they hired and overpaid a company to make negative comments about their own players and opponents on social media in order to boost the image of senior officials. The company was accused of using fake social media accounts to discredit opposition figures when they expressed views that went against the club.
Roman Gomez Ponti leaves Les Corts police station in Barcelona after his arrest on Monday
Some of the figures supposedly included players such as Lionel Messi – who was unhappy and unsettled at Barcelona at the time – defender Gerard Pique, as well as former head coach Pep Guardiola. The club later released an independent audit report showing that there had been no wrongdoing.
Bartomeu and his board of directors resigned last year amid fallout from the controversy surrounding Messi and ahead of the upcoming presidential elections, which are to be held in less than a week’s time.
Presidential candidate Joan Laporta also confirmed the arrest of Bartomeu on Monday and said the day’s events would cause “enormous harm to the image of our club”.