Josep Maria Bartomeu has been arrested by Spanish police for his involvement in the ‘Barcagate’ smear campaign scandal during his time as their club president.
Bartomeu is one of four people to have been arrested so far, with Barcelona’s CEO Oscar Grau and head of legal services Roman Gomez Ponti two of those. Jaume Masferrer, who acted as an adviser to Bartomeu, is the other.
On Monday morning, Spanish police entered Barcelona’s Nou Camp stadium in a search and seize operation. Bartomeu was arrested at home.
The Economic Crimes Unit of the Catalonia Police Force are overseeing the searches.
Spanish media said the operation was related to last year’s ‘Barcagate,’ 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.
Star man Lionel Messi, veteran defender Gerard Pique and former manager, now Manchester City boss, Pep Guardiola were among those targeted by the negative stories and social media posts.