Barcelona President Charged With Bribing Referees With €7.3 Million Between 2001 And 2018
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By Agency Report
FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta has been officially indicted and charged in the Negreira refereeing bribery case by the prosecutor judge and will be investigated.
Barcelona are accused of having paid more than €7.3M to Referee Mr. Negreira between 2001 and 2018.
He is one of seven people who are being investigated over payments of €7.3 million made by Barcelona to former senior referee Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira.
Laporta has had two reigns as the LaLiga side’s president, the first of which between 2003 and 2010 saw Barcelona set a new record for trophies won in a 12-month period
The seven men under investigation are:
Judge Joaquin Aguirre Lopez is investigating:
Joan Laporta (president 2003-10 and 2021- present)
Josep Maria Bartomeu (president 2014-20)
Sandro Rosell (president 2010-14)
Oscar Grau (former club executive)
Albert Soler (former club executive)
Javier Enriquez Romero (Negreira’s son)
Barcelona and all those being investigated deny any wrongdoing.
Prosecutors are investigating payments made between 2001 and 2018 to Negreira and his company Dasnil 95.
Negreira is a former referee and was vice-president of Spain’s referees’ committee between 1994 and 2018.
Barcelona are facing charges of corruption, breach of trust and false accounting.
Sky Sports reports that The La Liga champions deny any wrongdoing and say the payments were for consulting work including refereeing reports.
In March, UEFA appointed ethics and disciplinary investigators to look into the case.
Barcelona were allowed to play in the Champions League this season but UEFA said in July “a future decision on admission/exclusion from UEFA club competitions is reserved”.
Barcelona won nine Spanish titles between 2001 and 2018.
“Joan Laporta is one of the most powerful men in world football. He’s the president of one of the biggest clubs in world football, Barcelona, but [on Wednesday] he was informed by a Spanish judge that he’s been placed under formal investigation for suspected bribery.
FC Barcelona club President Joan Laporta begins a news conference in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. Barcelona announced on Thursday Aug. 5, 2021 that Lionel Messi will not stay with the club. He is leaving after 17 successful seasons in which he propelled the Catalan club to glory, helping it win numerous domestic and international titles since debuting as a teenager. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)..
“He is one of seven people who’s being investigated over payments totalling £6.3m that were made by Barcelona over a period of 17 years from the club to a former referee called Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira.
“Negreira wasn’t just any old normal referee, he was a senior referee and also for a long period he was a vice president of Spain’s referees’ committee. Now that is the committee that allocates referees for games in Spain, so he was a very powerful referee, a senior figure.
“The question that is being asked is why were Barcelona paying him £6.3m over 17 years?
“All the people who are being investigated and Barcelona deny any wrongdoing whatsoever. They say there is an innocent explanation for these payments – in Spain it is quite normal for clubs to pay referees and former referees for advice about technical matters because they want to tell their players how referees act, how they apply the law and that is why they employ these referees on an ad hoc basis and make these payments for technical reports.
“Now the prosecutors are not buying this and that is why we saw last month the offices of the referees’ committee being raided by Spanish police who were looking for documents relating to this case.
“What the prosecutors believe may have happened from what they have said in court is that Barcelona were getting some kind of benefit from these payments and these benefits were to the detriment of other clubs in Spain.”