Ex-Barcelona chief Josep Maria Bartomeu released by Spanish court

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Former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his former advisor Jaume Masferrer had been released Tuesday after showing earlier than a choose investigating final 12 months`s `Barcagate` scandal, a Spanish court mentioned. 
The two males, who had been arrested on Monday, “exercised their right not to speak”, and the choose granted them conditional launch whereas the investigation continues, the Barcelona court mentioned in an announcement. The court mentioned the choose had sought to query them as a part of an investigation opened in May 2020 into the suspected crimes of false administration and enterprise corruption. 
Two different membership officers additionally detained as a part of the operation which concerned a search of Barcelona`s stadium — the membership`s present chief govt Oscar Grau and its head of authorized providers Roma Gomez Ponti — had been released late on Monday. The operation comes lower than every week earlier than presidential elections are to be held on the membership. The so-called `Barcagate` scandal includes allegations that the membership lined up funds made to an organization known as I3 Ventures, employed to spice up the picture of the membership on social media. 
Part of the social media marketing campaign included criticising present and former gamers like Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernandez, and iconic coach Pep Guardiola. Messi described the controversy as “strange” in an interview with Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo. Spanish radio station Cadena Ser claimed in February 2020 that Barca paid I3 Ventures an inflated price and put funds via in smaller, separate quantities to keep away from the membership`s monetary controls. Bartomeu maintained the corporate had been employed solely to watch posts on social media and introduced an inner audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which cleared the membership of economic corruption in July. 
He resigned in October, avoiding a vote of no confidence triggered after greater than 20,000 membership members signed a petition in opposition to him. His departure got here in the identical month Barcelona introduced losses of 97 million euros ($114 million) for final season and following a dramatic decline in performances on the pitch in addition to a private falling-out with Messi. His successor is because of be elected on Sunday, when membership members will select between the ultimate three candidates, Joan Laporta, Toni Freixa and Victor Font.
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