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Barcelona CEO and former president Josep Maria Bartomeu arrested as Nou Camp is raided

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Former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu as well as CEO Oscar Grau have been arrested following a raid on the club’s offices on Monday.

Head of legal Roman Gómez Ponti was also arrested.

It comes amid the continued investigation into ‘BarcaGate’.

Club officials have been accused of launching a smear campaign against current and former players who were critical of the Catalan club and the former president.

Police entered Barcelona’s stadium on Monday in a search and seize operation, the club confirmed.

In September, it was reported the Catalan police had filed a report to the judge investigating Barcelona’s hiring of social media consultancy I3 Ventures.

Police have confirmed that arrests have been made.

Multiple sources in Spain have declared Bartomeu and Grau are among those, as well as Gomez Ponti and Jaume Masferrer, ther right-hand man of the former president.

Bartomeu and his board of directors resigned last year amid Lionel Messi exit speculation.

The club has been mired in political turmoil and debt made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.

The operation comes less than a week before presidential elections are to be held at the club.

The allegation claimed that Barcelona paid up to 600 per cent above the going rate for the services of I3 Ventures who were employed to monitor their social media.

It was claimed these accounts ran negative stories about club figures who were in potential opposition to Bartomeu.

One of the stories referred to Lionel Messi’s wife Antonella.

In July, Barcelona made public the findings of an investigation by audit company PWC that ruled they did not commission I3 Ventures to run a smear campaign though.

The investigation continues as Barcelona sit second in La Liga behind Atletico Madrid.



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