Bartomeu 'provisionally released' after Barcelona office raids

By Sports Desk March 02, 2021

Former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has been "provisionally released" after he was arrested following a raid on the club's offices.

Bartomeu and ex-director Jaume Masferrer exercised their right not to testify on Tuesday when answering to charges of unfair administration and corruption of business.

The Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) confirmed the case was still open.

"The court of instruction 13 of Barcelona, within a case opened in May 2020 for crimes of unfair administration and corruption in business, has taken a statement today from the former directors of FC Barcelona, Josep M Bartomeu and Jaume Masferrer, as investigated," a TSJC statement read.

"The two investigated, who today have gone to court, have availed themselves of their right not to testify and the magistrate has agreed to provisionally release them.

"The case, of which the summary secrecy has been lifted, is still open."

In a statement tweeted on Monday, Los Mossos d'Esquadra confirmed "several searches are being carried out" at Barca's club premises by its unit dedicated to the investigation of economic crimes.

Bartomeu was taken into custody as part of the probe, along with the club's current CEO Oscar Grau.

Barca's head of legal services Roman Gomez Ponti and former director Jaume Masferrer were also arrested.

The investigation is thought to centre around the "Barcagate" scandal, when Barcelona allegedly paid social media company 13 Ventures to smear celebrated club names such as Lionel Messi, Pep Guardiola, Xavi, Gerard Pique and ex-president Joan Laporta during Bartomeu's leadership.

Los Mossos searched Barca's offices in July 2020 in relation to the claims, although the club hired Price Waterhouse Coopers to investigate the matter and the global auditing firm found in their favour.

Nevertheless, board members Emili Rousaud, Enrique Tombas, Silvio Elias, Josep Pont, Maria Teixidor, Noelia Ronero and Jordi Calsamiglia resigned amid the damaging fallout.

Last October, Bartomeu stepped down as Barcelona president following a close season when Messi tried to leave the club and ahead of a vote of no confidence in his leadership.

Laporta is favourite to return for a second stint as president, with elections taking place this Sunday – the race now staged against the backdrop of yet another turbulent episode for the LaLiga giants.

Related items

  • Retired Jamaica international Simpson calls for unity following end to JFF, Reggae Boyz contract dispute Retired Jamaica international Simpson calls for unity following end to JFF, Reggae Boyz contract dispute

    Retied Jamaica international, Fitzroy Simpson, has called for the return of the spirit of togetherness for the Reggae Boyz, expressing the hope that the current squad can go on to match the exploits of his historic 1998 unit.

    Up until recently, some members of the Jamaica national team and the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) were embroiled in a bitter contractual dispute, which saw several members of the team unavailable for the Caribbean team’s clash against the United States last month.

    With the dispute now settled, and the CONCACAF Gold Cup and World Cup qualifiers coming later this year, Simpson is urging both parties to come together.

    “Unity is so important,” Simpson said in a recent interview with the Irish Mirror.

    “The set-up now has to be unified and improvements made on the business side,” he added.

    Simpson was one of several English-based players to join the Jamaica national team ahead of their historic qualification for the World Cup in France.  The former Manchester City and Portsmouth player started all three games at the tournament and has fond memories of not just playing at the final itself but also the build-up.

    “It was breathtaking.  It was the greatest honour in my playing career to lead Jamaica to history,” Simpson said.

    “I remember my mother, my brother, and my uncle in the stadium when we qualified.  I looked at them and couldn't believe what we had achieved because Jamaica wasn't recognised as a footballing nation.  The whole country really drove us on, the support was incredible.”

     

     

  • Newcastle Jets 1-1 Perth Glory: O'Donovan penalty ends hosts' seven-match losing streak Newcastle Jets 1-1 Perth Glory: O'Donovan penalty ends hosts' seven-match losing streak

    Newcastle Jets finally ended their club-record A-League losing streak as a second-half penalty salvaged a 1-1 draw at home to the similarly off-colour Perth Glory.

    Since a five-game unbeaten run finished at the end of February, the Jets have been stuck in a miserable rut of successive defeats.

    They surrendered a one-goal lead in their 2-1 loss to Melbourne Victory last time out and fans would have been forgiven for thinking the writing was on the wall when Joel Chianese scored a lovely goal for Perth just past the hour.

    A gorgeous first-time pass from Bruno Fornaroli using the outside of his right foot released Andy Keogh into the left side of the box and his pass across the face of goal was turned in by Chianese.

    But Roy O'Donovan smashed home from the spot soon after as Kosuke Ota tripped Apostolos Stamatelopoulos.

    That was ultimately enough to seal a point, but the Jets will surely feel they could have snatched victory at the end, with Matthew Millar blazing over from a fairly tight angle deep into stoppage time.

    The draw does neither side much good, with Newcastle staying 11th on 12 points and Perth one place and six points better off.

  • Real Madrid captain Ramos tests positive for coronavirus Real Madrid captain Ramos tests positive for coronavirus

    Sergio Ramos has tested positive for coronavirus, Real Madrid have confirmed.

    Ramos, 35, has been dogged by injuries in 2020-21, with several absences restricting him to just 15 LaLiga appearances this season.

    His streak of bad luck continued on Tuesday as Madrid revealed the experienced centre-back is now isolating having contracted COVID-19.

    The club have not revealed any further details relating to whether he is symptomatic or for how long he will have to stay away from the training ground.

    However, as long as it is an isolated infection, this news will not directly impact Zinedine Zidane's selections as Ramos was already due to be out of action until the end of the month with a calf injury sustained on international duty in March.

    Nevertheless, even without him Madrid have managed to pull themselves back into a title challenge, with Saturday's 2-1 Clasico win moving them up to second and just a point behind leaders Atletico Madrid.

    Madrid will hope Ramos can return for the final weeks of the season and help secure the title again in what could be his final campaign at the club, with his contract expiring in June.

    Los Blancos are also doing well in the Champions League, as they go to Liverpool for their quarter-final second leg 3-1 up from last week's first meeting.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.