Spanish media reports indicate that Barcelona’s president, Joan Laporta, is currently under investigation as part of the ‘Negreira’ case, which revolves around alleged payments to referees and bribery.

Originally, the case focused on payments between 2014 and 2018. At that time, Sandro Rosell and Jose Maria Bartomeu served as the chief executives of Barcelona. However, the investigation has now expanded to include a period that overlaps with Laporta‘s first term as president from 2003 to 2010.

In March, it came to light that Spanish prosecutors had lodged a complaint in response to reports that Barcelona had made payments exceeding $7.4 million to companies owned by Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira. Negreira served as the former vice president of the Spanish FA’s refereeing committee. He had an association with these payments from 2001 to 2018.

The recent developments indicate the investigation’s timeline extends back to 2008. For reference, this is the furthest point of issue under a 15-year statute of limitations.

Joan Laporta faces new bribery accusations

Laporta faces charges of bribery related to sports corruption, unlawful administration and the falsification of documents.

The investigation into Barcelona revolves around potential ongoing corruption allegations, as presented by prosecutors who suspect that the club made payments in exchange for actions that would favor them in matches and competitions.

Club representatives stated Barcelona made these payments in exchange for information reports on referees officiating the Blaugrana’s matches. Joan Laporta, on the other hand, has mentioned that they were for scouting reports on young players across Spain.

How did Laporta respond?

Meanwhile, the current Barcelona president has reiterated his innocence in the matter.

“I understand that there are no grounds to charge me. Knowing the history of this judge, I had numbers to end up investigated. But there are no grounds and there is no bribery. There is no continuing offense,” Laporta told Catalunya Radio.

“The prosecution described it as sporting corruption but in no case bribery. The judge is forcing this whole story. An investigating judge. It is quite surprising. I am very clear that all Barcelona fans can rest assured that this case will end up being shelved.

“There are two hypotheses. We paid money for services. It was paid by bank transfer and there are invoices. We presented 629 reports and 42 CDs. They were useful reports because they were used by people who needed to know this information. We have shown that there were reports, documented with videos in some cases. The judge’s hypothesis is that we bought referees and they haven’t proved that. And they won’t be able to because it’s not true.”

Laporta defends his case

“There is a sociological Madridismo in the centers of power. There is a lot of force. I have competed against this sociological Madridismo, and I have won. They are afraid that what happened in my first term will happen again. We won a lot and that hurt them a lot. They suffered a lot. We are used to fighting against this. This Madridismo is in the media, in the world of sport. We have to accept this as normal but as Cules we have to know that we have to compete against this.

“They are panicking that we will repeat what we have already done, that we will win everything again. The club, which has also been accused of fraudulent management, breach of trust and falsification of business documents, continue to insist that they simply paid for technical reports on referees.”