1042 GMT June 30, 2022
The club said local authorities from Mossos d’Esquadra’s Economic Offenses Unit were at the team’s headquarters on Monday morning but did not provide any more detail, the Guardian reported.
Spanish media said the operation was related to last year’s “Barça-gate,” in which club officials were accused of launching a smear campaign against current and former players who were critical of the club and then-president Bartomeu by allegedly hiring a social media company to publicly discredit them. He, current chief executive Òscar Grau, and Barcelona’s head of legal services, Román Gómez Pontí were arrested on suspicion of “unfair administration, corruption between individuals and money laundering,” according to Cadena SER radio station.
Catalan police later confirmed they had made several arrests, without confirming the number made or the identities of those detained.
Bartomeu and his board of directors resigned last year amid fallout from the controversy surrounding Lionel Messi. The club has been mired in political turmoil and debt prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The operation comes less than a week before presidential elections are to be held, with more than 20,000 Barcelona members having already cast their vote via postal ballot. Three candidates – Victor Font, Joan Laporta and Toni Freia – are on the final ballot for the crucial vote.