Barcelona president Joan Laporta has confirmed that the club’s previous board could face criminal charges for the misappropriation of funds and false accounting during their reign. The Catalan club are in the midst of a financial crisis that was instigated by the previous administration.
Joan Laporta returned for his second spell as Barcelona president in March 2021 succeeding Josep Maria Bartomeu. But Laporta encountered a club steeped in debt which resulted in the departures of Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann to secure the financial future of the Catalan club.
Vice president Eduard Romeu confirmed that previous president Bartomeu left the club in 1.35 billion of debt, with losses over the last years totalling €600m, of which only €135m is related to the pandemic. The Blaugrana have managed to knock €159m off their wage bill since Laporta took office although further reductions will be necessary to stabilize the financial strength of the club.
But the Barcelona president revealed that after a third-party forensic investigation into the club’s finances, it was revealed that the previous board made unjustified payments to journalists and lawyers as well as paying a commission of over 30% to some agents. The Spanish club filed a complaint with the prosecutor’s office in Barcelona on Wednesday and revealed details in a press conference on Tuesday.
“The members have the right to know the actions that have led the club to a ruinous situation. [A third-party investigation] has revealed a series of operations of considerable economic irrationality and, in short, unjustified payments, falsely justified payments or payments of disproportionate amounts,” Laporta said in a press conference”When the administration of a social entity presents such overwhelming suggestions of mismanagement, the criminal justice system is called upon to investigate and clarify any possible illicit diversions, abuses or enrichment,” Laporta said, reported ESPN.