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Financial probe into previous Barcelona board found ‘very serious criminal behaviour’ – lawyer


Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona’s previous board, led by former president Josep Maria Bartomeu, showed “very serious criminal behaviour”, a lawyer hired by the club said on Tuesday.

At the presentation of the club’s ‘forensic report’ into the financial management of Barca under Bartomeu, current president Joan Laporta also said “payments without cause, payments with a false cause or disproportionate payments were found”.

Laporta added that “it could not be ruled out that there was unfair reward for those people responsible for these payments”.

The findings of the report prompted the club to file a complaint with the prosecutor’s office in Barcelona last week. The prosecutor’s office began an investigation into “economic crimes” on Friday, a source told AFP.

Barcelona’s report, carried out by financial investigations company, Kroll, was initiated after the club’s general director, Ferran Reverter, announced the results of an internal audit in October. 

Reverter said the club was “technically bankrupt” when Laporta took over as president in March 2021, with the audit uncovering total club debts of 1.35 billion euros ($1.52 billion).

The presentation of the report was made in the offices outside Camp Nou on Tuesday morning by Laporta, Eduard Romeu, Barcelona’s financial vice-president, and Jaume Campaner, a corporate lawyer contracted to work on the investigation.

Campaner said: “It’s not about pointing fingers or describing the management of the previous board as better or worse, that’s not it. 

“It is about transferring information to the authorities that investigate crimes and clamp down on this sort of behaviour, which is very serious criminal behaviour.”

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