The former general manager of FC Barcelona, Óscar Grau, and the former director of legal services, Romanian Gómez-Ponti, the former president said on Monday Josep Maria Bartomeu as the ideologue and his right hand, Jaume Masferrer, as the executor, in the ‘BarçaGate‘, as revealed by one of the popular accusations in the case.
Grau and Gómez-Ponti testified today before the court of instruction number 13 of the Catalan capital. According to Felipe Izquierdo, the lawyer for the ‘Cor Blaugrana’ collective who is in the case as a popular accusation, both stated that the work related to the ‘Barçagate’ “were direct commissions given to them by Bartomeu”.
“In addition, Grau said that if it is a presidential order, it is not discussed,” Izquierdo added after the investigators’ statement to the City of Justice.
On the other hand, always according to this popular accusation, Grau and Gómez-Ponti have pointed to alleged attacks on social networks that Barça would have suffered during the referendum on independence on October 1, 2017 as the origin of the hiring of the companies of Carlos Ibáñez.
These same sources have pointed out that Gómez-Ponti has stated that the external audit that Barça contracted with PriceWaterHouseCoopers (PwC) cost the Barça club 600,000 euros and that the Compliance department (responsible for ensuring the proper functioning of the internal processes of the entity) “it was a disaster.”
Unlike former president Josep Maria Bartomeu and former head of the presidential area Jaume Masferrer, who refused to testify when they were arrested on March 1, Grau and Gómez-Ponti, who were relieved of their positions with the arrival of Joan Laporta to the presidency, yes they answered to the questions of judge Alejandra Gil and the lawyers of the parts.
“Of course I testified, eagerly,” Grau said as he left the statement and asked by reporters. His statement, which was scheduled for 10 a.m., began 45 minutes late and lasted an hour and 15 minutes.
A similar duration was that of Gómez-Ponti, which began after 12 noon. The former head of Barça’s legal services did not want to talk to the media when he left the City of Justice.
Grau, Gómez-Ponti, Bartomeu and Masferrer are being investigated for possible unfair administration and corruption between individuals in the ‘Barçagate’, the case of social networks in which the Barça club has hired several companies in the Nicestream conglomerate that discredited players, former players, presidential candidates and other public figures from around the club.
At first it was also planned that Carlos Ibáñez, the owner of Nicestream, testified this Monday, but finally the statement is postponed until July 20 and will be made by video conference.
On the other hand, Josep Maria Bartomeu and Jaume Masferrer are summoned to testify on June 30 for the complaint filed by Jaume Roures, founder of the Mediapro Group, as he is one of the people allegedly defamed on social media through the accounts controlled by Nicestream.
And on June 15, the trial will be held between FC Barcelona and the ex-compliance officer Noelia Romero, who was fired months after the ‘Barçagate’.
Romero began an internal audit the same week that was uncovered parallel to the one the club did through PriceWaterHouseCoopers but, he reported, Bartomeu prevented him from presenting it to the board. She would later be suspended from pay and work before being fired.
The ‘BarçaGate’ ended with the resignation of six of those members of the board of directors of FC Barcelona: Emili Rousaud, institutional vice-president; Enrique Tombas, vice president and treasurer; Josep Pont, head of the commercial area; Silvio Elías, manager in charge of Barça B; Maria Teixidor, secretary and president of the Control and Transparency Commission; and Jordi Calsamiglia, head of the disciplinary area.