Barcelona are facing charges of corruption regarding payments the club made to Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, a former vice-president of Spain’s referees’ committee.
Last month it was discovered that the Catalans paid Negreira and a company he owns a reported total of 8.4m euros (£7.4m) between 2001 and 2018. On Friday a court in Barcelona was told that the LaLiga club, former officials and Negreira had been indicted for “corruption”, “breach of trust” and “false business records”.
The lawsuits have been bought against the club as well as former presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell. The public prosecutor’s office said: “FC Barcelona obtained and maintained a strictly confidential verbal agreement with Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira so that, in his capacity as vice-president of the technical arbitral committee (CTA) and in exchange for money, the latter carries out actions tending to benefit FC Barcelona in decisions by the referees.”
It comes just days after Joan Laporta, the current president at the Nou Camp, denied that Barcelona had ever paid referees. He told reporters: “We have a press conference in which we will talk about this issue. Barcelona have never bought referees and Barcelona have never had the intention of buying referees – absolutely never.
The forcefulness of the facts contradicts those who try to change the story. We are doing well again, nothing is casual. There is a campaign to damage Barcelona’s interests. It is a campaign aimed at controlling the club. La Liga does not accept that Barcelona did not sign the contract with CVC.”
LaLiga chief executive Javier Tebas said last month that Laporta should resign if he was unable to explain the payments, which were first revealed by radio station Ser Catalunya. An investigation was done by tax authorities into Negreira’s company Dasnil 95.
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