dpa/GNA – Police in Barcelona raided the offices of the Camp Nou stadium on Monday morning, and took former Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu in for questioning.
Former club directors Oscar Grau, Roman Gomez and Jaume Masferrer were also detained in the investigation relating to overpaid contracts to a company, hired to monitor the club’s online presence.
Bartomeu and his board stepped down in October 2020, with investigations into the club hiring the company i3 Ventures to monitor Barcelona’s presence on social media already on-going.
An investigation by audit company PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) said the club didn’t pay the company over market price for their services.
But Spanish paper El Mundo reported that the police said an audit, commissioned by an interested party, could not be “conclusive” and wanted to continue their investigation.
Payments to the company added up to around 1 million euros [1.2 million dollars] and had been broken down into amounts of less than 200,000 euros, meaning they evaded the club’s internal checking mechanism.
Six board members subsequently quit, including Emili Rousaud who made the startling statement to Catalan radio RAC1: “I think someone has had their hand in the till, although I don’t know who.”
Bartomeu and his board have always denied the club paid over market-value for the services of i3 Ventures.