Former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu, current CEO Oscar Grau and head of legal Roman Gomez Ponti have all been arrested today by the Catalan Police in relation to the Barcagate social media scandal. The Barcagate media scandal was one in which the Barcelona board allegedly hired a social media company to publicly disrepute their players and staff.
It’s been one year since it was alleged that Barcelona, under Bartomeu at the time, paid a third-party company to smear former players, current players and presidential candidates on social media. Barcelona denied the allegations terminated their contract with I3 Ventures, the media company in question.
Last year, some evidence was revealed that I3 was behind a number of Facebook accounts that had attacked people related to the club, including players Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, former captain Xavi Hernandez, ex-manager Pep Guardiola and presidential candidates Victor Font and Agusti Benedito.
Investigations were made by audit companies and other investigation agencies but Barcelona were cleared of all allegations. The Spanish Police however kept investigating and according to ESPN Media, raids were made at the Barcelona headquarters last June for documents relating to the allegations.
Bartomeu resigned some time after although his resignation was based on his performances as President and not the allegations. The resignation has prompted an unprecedented Presidential election which is meant to take place on the 7th of this month.