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Barcelona CEO and former president Josep Maria Bartomeu arrested on corruption charges

Former Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu has been arrested alongside CEO Oscar Grau and head of legal Roman Gomez Ponti.

Barcelona CEO and former president Josep Maria Bartomeu arrested on corruption charges

They were all arrested following a raid on the club’s offices on Monday and have been reprimanded on the basis of unfair administration, corruption between individuals and money laundering.

Barcelona have released a statement saying: "Given the entry of the local police at the club's offices, per a court order relating to the hiring [of a third-party company] and monitoring services of social networks, FC Barcelona has offered its full support to judicial and police authorities and collaborated with them to clarify the facts that are the subject of the investigation.

Police arrived at Barca's offices to search for evidence in relation to the Barcagate social media scandal and later made the arrests.

It comes a year after it was alleged that Barca, under Bartomeu at the time, paid a third-party company to smear former players, current players and presidential candidates on social media. Bartomeu and his board of directors decided to resign after the controversy.

It was claimed that he and his regime had hired I3 Ventures to protect his reputation, while smearing the names of the likes of Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Pep Guardiola and other club legends, as well as outspoken critics of Bartomeu and evidence was also revealed that there was a number of Facebook accounts that were attacking the players named.

Bartomeu and Barca rescinded the contract with I3 immediately and denied all knowledge of the accounts. Bartomeu's adviser Masferrer was later suspended after being held responsible for the club's relationship with I3

The arrests come less than a week before the presidential elections, which will see Victor Font, Joan Laporta and Toni Freia compete for the vote, with former president Laporta favourite to secure the position.

Author: Abraham Adebayo