The Catalan regional police (the Mossos d’Esquadra) have today, ( 1st March) raided the offices of FC Barcelona and arrested several key club officers including the former president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
According to multiple reports in the Spanish media, the authorities have also arrested the current club CEO Òscar Grau as well as other present and former board members.
The raids come as part of the ongoing investigation into the club known as Barçagate.
The court hearing the case ordered the raids is seeking to retrieve documents relating to the club´s finances during the tenure of Bartomeu as club president.
Last year it was reported that the club had hired a social media company to publish negative stories current players and and former players whilst at the same time run positive stories showing Bartomeu’s in a good light.
In a club statement FC Barcelona said they: ” have offered up their full collaboration to the legal and police authorities to help make clear facts which are subject to investigation. The information and documentation requested by the judicial police force relate strictly to the facts relative to this case.
FC Barcelona express its utmost respect for the judicial process in place and for the principle of presumed innocence for the people affected within the remit of this investigation.
Also last year the club fell out with star player, Lionel Messi,who had sent a legally certified letter requesting severance from the club.
Messi´s contract was subseuqently leaked to the press showing that his contract was worth in excess of half a billion Euros – far more than any other player in the history of the game.
In October 2020 Bartomeu resigned as club president leaving behind debts reported to be close to 100 million Euros.
The forthcoming elections for the club are this weekend with three candidates in the running.