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Former Barcelona president arrested on corruption charges

Josep Bartomeu, FC Barcelona
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A Catalan police force raid in FC Barcelona’s offices has reportedly resulted in several arrests, including that of the former president.

Former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has been arrested following a police force raid in the club’s offices, according to local reports.

The Catalan police force, known as the ‘Mossos d’Esquadra’, carried out a search in Barcelona’s offices on Monday morning. It’s reportedly led to several arrests, including that of the Blaugrana’s former president Bartomeu.

According to La Vanguardia, CEO Oscar Grau and head of legal services Roman Gomez Ponti were among senior figures taken into custody.

But while the police have confirmed arrests were made, they have refused to disclose the identities of those detained so far.

It’s understood these latest events at Camp Nou are in relation to the infamous ‘Barcagate scandal’ of last February. The club were accused back then of having contracted companies to defame certain people who opposed Bartomeu’s administration in the media.

Even Barcelona’s own players, namely Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique, were targeted.

I3 Ventures SL, Tantra Soft SA, Digital Side SA, Futuric SA, NSG Social Science Ventures SL, Big Data Solutions SA are the reported third-party companies involved. According to Cadena SER, it prompted the police raid.

The Mossos had actually visited Barcelona’s offices last summer to collect information regarding the Barcagate scandal. They returned again on Monday and seemingly found incriminating evidence.

The alleged smear campaign severely damaged Bartomeu’s reputation, despite the Catalan denying any involvement. Board members resigned in response before he and his administration finally stepped down in October.

His arrest comes just a week before Barcelona board members vote on his successor as club president.