The Barcelona camp has been filled with mixed speculations recently, with fresh allegations being made towards former president Josep Maria Bartomeu, by none other than Mossos – the Barcelona city police.
It has been claimed that Bartomeu had paid a few journalists to defend himself and attack Joan Laporta and Victor Font.
Such has been confirmed by the police, who claim that the funds were sanctioned for public opinion control. The journalists who were allegedly paid are Marcal Lorente and Albert Lesan.
The reports claim they were paid through intermediary third-party companies, with Llorente being reportedly paid €320,000 in six years.
The whole operation was done in order to improve Bartomeu’s own image in the public space and to weaken the likes of Laporta and Font.
However, Bartomeu has denied these claims and has declared them as false. He claims that these assumptions were made without evidence and has publicly denied that Barcelona sanctioned any funds to control the media.
“Once again I clarify the police statement that I paid the press to defend myself in front of the public,” Bartomeu said in a statement (h/t SPORT). “This is incorrect and misinterpreted and assumptions were made without evidence.”
“I categorically deny that Barcelona paid the press to defend myself or the club’s interests,” he added.
These fresh allegations, regardless of their veracity, paint yet another black spot on Bartomeu’s tenure at Barcelona, which was chock-full of controversy, mismanagement, and sporting underachievement.
Much of it led to Barcelona’s current economic crisis that has crippled the club’s powers in the transfer market.