Police Raid Camp Nou In Monetary Crimes Investigation : NPR

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Journalists line the entrance gate of the FC Barcelona offices during a police operation on Monday. Lluis Gene / AFP via Getty Images Hide caption

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Lluis Gene / AFP via Getty Images

Journalists line the entrance gate of the FC Barcelona offices during a police operation on Monday.

Lluis Gene / AFP via Getty Images

The Catalan police searched the FC Barcelona stadium on Monday. The club’s former president and three other people were reportedly arrested.

Police said multiple searches and seizures were conducted by their financial crimes department but did not provide additional details.

Local media reported that those arrested were former club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, the club’s current CEO, Òscar Grau, head of legal services Román Gómez Pontí, and Jaume Masferrer, an adviser to Bartomeu. NPR has not independently verified these reports.

The police action follows last year’s “Barça goal” – a matter in which club officials allegedly hired a marketing firm to discredit critics of then-President Bartomeu using methods such as fake social media accounts. Among those allegedly affected by the company’s activities were Barcelona stars Lionel Messi and Gerard Piqué, as well as former coach Pep Guardiola.

The club denied any wrongdoing and released an independent review of its relationship with the marketing company.

FC Barcelona confirmed the attack on Monday at their famous Camp Nou stadium and said they cooperate fully. The raid takes place less than a week before the club elects the next president.

“The information and documents requested by the judicial police relate only to the facts relating to this case,” it said in a statement. “FC Barcelona expresses its greatest respect for the existing legal process and the principle of presumed innocence for those affected by this investigation.”

The club has debts related to the coronavirus pandemic as well as ongoing political turmoil. Bartomeu resigned last year due to a deteriorating relationship with Messi who may be leaving the club if his contract expires at the end of the season.