According to a police complaint, former Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu is suspected of exploiting club finances for private purposes.
The Catalan Mossos police unit has compiled a report that spans hundreds of pages and looks at Barcelona’s finances, communications, and some of their business dealings under Bartomeu.
The specifics of this investigation, which claims that a contract with Amalgama Marketing was used to channel money to other parties, were made public by Cadena SER. Payments would fluctuate, but quadrupled in 2020 when the pandemic struck and Barcelona requested that players accept pay reductions.
Bartomeu concealed these payments from Price Waterhouse Cooper as well as from an outside consultant hired to undertake an impartial audit of their financial records.
A significant portion of the funds given to Amalgama were used for specific campaigns, while about 26% of the hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments made over the years went to outside sources.
Josep Juanmarti, a coworker of Bartomeu’s son at the family business Adelte, received 43 percent of the payments. A journalist named Marcal Llorente received 26% of those payments, and the remaining 74% was split between Albert Lessant and Alberto de la Torre, two additional journalists.
The journalists were compensated in return for favourable coverage of Bartomeu and, to a lesser extent, Barcelona. Llorente asserted that Bartomeu assured him in emails that, after helping Bartomeu win the 2015 elections, he would be given a post within the club.
That didn’t happen and he described the payments as a “salary” and acknowledged that it would be challenging for him to resume his role as an objective journalist afterward given the partiality he had displayed. A salary of €80,000 was acceptable to Llorente considering his position at the club, as he also told Bartomeu.
Bartomeu was previously detained and released on bail, but he has not yet been accused of wrongdoing while the Barcagate investigation is ongoing. Bartomeu is also suspected of wrongdoing in the Negreira case, as one of the Presidents involved in the 17-year period being investigated.