Barcelona President, Joan Laporta to present the results of a club investigation into financial mismanagement under the previous board on Tuesday, under former president Josep Maria Bartomeu, expecting to be in the firing line.
The findings of the ‘forensic report’ prompted the prosecutor’s office in Barcelona to start an investigation on Friday into “economic crimes”, a source told AFP, after the club files a complaint last week.
The report of Barcelona was initiated after the club’s general director, Ferran Reverter, declares the results of an internal adult in October.
Reverter said that the club was technically bankrupt when Laporta had taken over as president in March 2021 and that Bartomeu’s regime had been disastrous. The audit unveils total club debts of 1.35 billion euros. He further said in October that there were signs that we had to investigate further and we will conduct a forensic report for this reason. If they found any irregularities, the club would pass it over to the legal department to take suitable measures.
The report includes various financial issues like money paid to agents and the spreading of fees over numerous contracts, allegedly avoiding exceeding spending limits.
The club has also spent eye-watering sums on transfers under Bartomeu, with expensive signings such as Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho, and Antione Griezmann.
Reverter feels that when they signed the players, it wasn’t a part of the plan to see if they could afford them. The same night they signed Griezmann when they realized there was not sufficient money to do it.
Bartomeu has guarded his time as president, rejecting the figures shown by the new board while blaming losses on the crisis caused by the virus.
Barcelona closes the 2020/2021 financial year with losses of 481 million euros. They hope to post a small profit of 5 million euros this season.
Bartomeu said in an interview that their management has been serious and responsible. In March, he appeared in court and was released pending corruption charges, after the police had done a raid at five locations around Barcelona, including the offices at Camp Nou.
Over 200,000 Barcelona members signed the petition to remove Bartomeu as president but Bartomeu resigns in October 2020, before a vote of no-confidence motion takes place. He fell out publicly with Lionel Messi, who left last summer and joins Paris Saint-Germain as the club could not afford to stretch his contract.
The team did suffer a dramatic decline over the pitch and they are still recovering. Barcelona sit fifth in La Liga and was unsuccessful in qualifying for this season’s Champion’s League last 16.