Getting to know Barcagate, who got former Barcelona president Bartomeu arrested

Bartomeu  ARRESTED

Barcelona is again in trouble. Their management office was ransacked by the Catalonia police, Monday morning local time. Police have reportedly detained former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu , CEO Oscar Grau and club legal chiefs Roman Gomez Ponti and Jaume Masferrer.

These searches and arrests are said to be related to the Barcagate scandal which shook the public in February 2020. The perpetrators were accused of committing administrative irregularities, embezzlement and money laundering.

What exactly is Barcagate?

This case began to emerge thanks to a report by Spanish radio  Cadena SER on 17 February 2020. Bartomeu, who is currently the president of Barcelona, ​​is accused of paying third parties to damage the reputation of a number of players, former employees, and presidential candidates on social media.

Barcelona has reportedly hired a social media company called I3 Ventures to tarnish the reputation of certain individuals deemed critical of Bartomeu and the board of directors. The company I3 Ventures is said to use six social media accounts to defend Barça's board of directors and attack those who disagree with them.

Some of the alleged targets of the campaign include players such as Gerard Pique and Lionel Messi , former players including Xavi, and presidential candidates Víctor Font and Joan Laporta.

According to Cadena SER, Barcelona has paid nearly one million euros (Rp 17 billion) per year to I3 Ventures for the service. The payout is divided into six small contracts which are less than 200,000 euros each, thereby avoiding scrutiny within the club. The price paid by Barcelona is said to be six times higher than the market price.

Bartomeu and Barcelona's board of directors resigned in November last year amid the impact of the controversy surrounding Lionel Messi's desire to leave. Under Bartomeu's leadership, Barca have been mired in chaos and debt-ridden by the crisis that has accompanied the coronavirus pandemic.

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