Saturday, 11 April 2020

Barcelona threaten legal action after been accused of corruption

One of six Barcelona board members to resign this week has caused a stir by claiming "someone had their hand in the treasury" at the club - an accusation strongly rebuffed by the Camp Nou hierarchy.

Emili Rousaud stood down from his position as vice-president along with five other directors.

The departures of Rousaud, Enrique Tombas, Silvio Elias, Josep Pont, Jordi Calsamiglia and Maria Texidor came amid reports of months of internal disputes at the club ahead of the presidential elections due to be held next year.

Their exits came two days after reports that incumbent president Josep Maria Bartomeu wanted four board members to step down as he seeks to strengthen support during his final year in office. The planned reshuffle was later referenced by Barca in their response to Rousaud's claims.

Speaking on Friday hours after news of his resignation, Rousaud spoke out on the internal schism within the Liga champions' senior management and suggested a further three directors are considering their positions.

Rousaud told RAC1 on Friday: "I think someone has had their hand in the treasury, although I don't know who.

"You pay one million euros [to i3 Ventures] for a job that has a market price of 100,000 euros.

"I don't know who it was, but I can have an idea, although I don't think it was someone on the board."

Later on Friday, Barcelona issued a club statement to address the allegations.

“In the light of the serious and unfounded accusations made this morning by Mr. Emili Rousaud, ex institutional vice president at the Club, in different interviews with the media, FC Barcelona categorically denies any activity that can be described as corruption, therefore, reserves the right to any legal action that may correspond.

“As such, the anaylis of the monitoring service for social networks is currently the subject of a wide-ranging independent report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) which is still being carried out and as a result is yet to reach any conclusions and with the Club having provided all the relevant information requested by PWC since the start of the process.

“Finally, the resignations of the members of the Board of Directors announced over the last few hours have come about due to a reorganisation of the Board put forward by president Josep Maria Bartomeu and which will be completed in the next few days

“This reorganisation of the Board of Directors is an attempt to face the challenge of the final phase of the mandate in the best way possible with the objective being the implementation of the necessary measures to prepare for the Club’s future, overcoming the consequences of the public health crisis which is currently upon us and to bring to a conclusion the management programme began in 2010 and the Strategic Plan approved in 2015.”

Rousaud also suggested possible impropriety regarding Barca's alleged agreement with i3 Ventures, a PR company that, it's claimed by a report on Spanish radio programme Que t'hi jugues, were hired to clean up Bartomeu's image on social media and disparage current and former players critical of his premiership.

Both Barcelona and i3 Ventures strongly denied entering into any such agreement.


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