According to the Spanish publication El Debate, Judge Joaquin Aguirre has accused Barcelona of allegedly engaging in bribery over payments made to Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, a former vice-president of the Technical Committee of Referees (CTA), over a 17-year period.
Between 2001 and 2018, including during current leader Joan Laporta’s first term as president, the Catalans are accused of paying €7.5 Million (€7.9 Million) to businesses owned by Negreira.
According to Reuters, Barcelona claimed that this was a standard practice among professional clubs and that they had employed an outside consultant who provided them with “technical reports related to professional refereeing.”
The report also states that along with Negreira and his son Javier Enriquez Romero, former Barça presidents Josep Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell have also been indicted in the case.
The Spanish giants were charged in March by the prosecutor’s office for the province of Barcelona with “continued corruption between individuals in the sports field.”
According to prosecutors, Negreira and Rosell had a “strictly confidential verbal agreement” to “carry out actions aimed at favouring Barcelona in the decision-making of the referees in the matches played by the club, and thus in the results of the competitions,” according to the statement.