Former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu will spend Monday night in police cells after being arrested in the morning, according to reports in Spain.
The news comes after police raided the club's offices. A regional police spokeswoman confirmed several arrests had been made following an investigation by the force's financial crimes unit, without confirming the number of arrests made or their identities.
Bartomeu, who resigned from the club in October last year, was reportedly one of four people arrested, alongside former director general Oscar Grau, former head of legal Roman Gomez Ponti and his right-hand man Jaume Masferrer, according to radio station Cadena Ser.
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It has been reported that none of the four testified on Monday and will instead face a judge on Tuesday after spending the night in police detention.
The reported arrests come after the ‘Barcagate’ scandal from earlier in 2020.
This was the incident where it was alleged that Bartomeu had hired communications company I3 Ventures to run negative stories against perceived opponents.
These reportedly included star players Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique, as well as Bartomeu’s political rivals. It was reported that Bartomeu hired the firm at six times the market value - with that allegation sparking the police investigation.
Bartomeu's lawyers could not immediately be reached for comment.
Barcelona would later release a statement, it read:
"Regarding the entry and search by the Catalan Police force this morning at the Camp Nou offices by order of the Instructing Court number 13 in Barcelona, which is in charge of the case relating to the contacting of monitoring services on social networks, FC Barcelona have offered up their full collaboration to the legal and police authorities to help make clear facts which are subject to investigation.
"The information and documentation requested by the judicial police force relate strictly to the facts relative to this case.
"FC Barcelona express its utmost respect for the judicial process in place and for the principle of presumed innocence for the people affected within the remit of this investigation."
With additional reporting from Reuters
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