News broke yesterday that former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu had been arrested alongside Oscar Grau and Roman Gomez Ponti due to charges of corruption being filed against the former Barcelona cabinet.
The reason behind the arrests has now come out in the open and it is due to the Barcagate campaign that Bartomeu was heavily linked with. The allegations rose around February 17, 2020, when there were reports of Barcelona being in contact with I3 Ventures since 2017.
The third-party company were tasked with diminishing the image of former Barcelona presidents along with current and former Barcelona players like Lionel Messi, Xavi, Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol while simultaneously promoting that of Bartomeu.
The former president paid I3 ventures a total sum worth €1 million for the job, with payments being restricted to under €200,000 and coming from different departments in the club. Other companies like NSG Social Science Ventures SL, Tantra Soft SA, Digital Side SA, Big Data Solutions SA and Futuric SA, which all have links to I3 Ventures owner Carlos Ibanez.
Spanish publication Cadena CER have published a 36-page report that shows the complete link between Barcelona and I3 Ventures. The club has officially denied any claims of corruption in the partnership between them and I3, but has confirmed that the company provided them services. They also said that the relation would be terminated if something along those lines came into the open.
The case being investigated is that of paying over-inflated prices for the services provided by I3 Ventures, and mismanagement of the club that has plunged Barcelona’s financial accounts further than ever into debt.