Barcelona Camp Nou attacked by police as ex-president Josep Maria Bartomeu ‘arrested’ in corruption probe
Atalan police entered Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium on Monday morning as part of a search and seizure operation, former club president Josep Maria Bartomeu among those allegedly arrested, according to Spanish media.
Barca confirmed that the authorities of Mossos d’Esquadra’s Economic Crimes Unit were at their headquarters but did not provide further details, while Mossos d’Esquadra, the Catalan police, told the AFP that “arrests are in progress” and that they “are in progress. To carry out an operation as of now with agents of the cell of the financial crimes”.
Spanish radio Cadena SER claimed that Bartomeu, the current director general Òscar Grau, and Barcelona’s head of legal services, Román Gómez Pontí, had been arrested on charges of “unfair administration, bribery between individuals and money laundering”.
Spanish media said the operation was linked to last year’s ‘Barcagate’ scandal, in which club officials were accused of launching a smear campaign against current and former players who had criticized the club and Bartomeu during his presidency.
Bartomeu and his board resigned in October amid the fallout from controversy surrounding Lionel Messi’s desire to leave the club, plagued by political turmoil and debt caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The operation comes less than a week before the presidential elections are held in Barça. More than 20,000 Barcelona members have already voted by correspondence, with three candidates – Victor Font, Joan Laporta and Toni Freia – in the last ballot for the pivotal election.