FC Barcelona have been charged with corruption over payments they made to the vice president of Spanish football’s refereeing committee for a period of eighteen years.
Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, who held that role between 1994 and 2018, is also facing charges of corruption in a case brought by the Spanish public prosecutor’s office, as is Josep Maria Bartomeu, Barca president from 2014-2020, and Sandro Rosell, president from 2010-2014.
Enriquez Negreira has denied ever favouring Barcelona in terms of refereeing decisions. Barca have explained they hired an “external consultant” who provided reports “related to professional refereeing” and also deny any wrongdoing.
News emerged in mid-February that prosecutors were investigating payments made by Barca to DASNIL 95, a company owned by Enriquez Negreira, between 2001 and 2018.
They began their investigation in May 2022, when tax inspectors alerted them to alleged irregularities in DASNIL’s financial records. On Friday, prosecutors put a figure on the total value of these payments: over €7.3million (£6.4m; $7.8m) was paid by Barca to DASNIL, and a second company owned by Enriquez Negreira, NILSAT.
In documents presented to a Barcelona court on Friday, prosecutors said: “FC Barcelona reached and maintained a strictly confidential verbal agreement with Enriquez Negreira so that, in his capacity as vice-president of the CTA (Spanish football’s referee’s committee) and in exchange for money, he would carry out actions tending to favour Barcelona in the decision making of referees in the matches played by the club.”
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